Stemilt Joins Forces with Seattle Chef Ericka Burke to Highlight Piñata® Apples
WENATCHEE, WA - With the New Year marking the return of Stemilt’s signature Northwestern-grown Piñata® apples, it was only natural that the company would recruit renowned Seattle Chef Ericka Burke to help show off how the apple can lend its unique flavor to the region’s signature dishes.
Not only can you find Piñata apples back on produce shelves, but thanks to this partnership you’ll be able to see them on the menu at both Ericka's Volunteer Park Cafe and brand-new Chop Shop Cafe & Bar, as well as her Northwest-inspired Canal Market.
As a caterer for Stemilt’s “Meet the Grower” dinner for food bloggers in Seattle back in September, Ericka learned first hand about Piñata’s unique sweet, tart, and tropical flavor and culinary traits. She said that’s when it became an instant favorite for her cooking.
“I enjoy cooking with Piñata apples, not only for the intense sweet and tart flavors, but also because they are grown by dedicated family farmers right here in the Northwest,” explained Ericka. “I’m delighted to partner with Stemilt and showcase Piñata apple on the menu at my restaurants.”
Burke will feature the apple in several new dishes at her restaurants this winter, according to a press release, including the following:
- Shaved Celeriac Salad with fennel
- Piñata apple and creamy Meyer lemon dressing
- Double Cut Pork Chop with honey apple gastrique
- Piñata apple and grilled quince
- Hazelnut Chevre with organic greens, Piñata apple, candied hazelnuts and pomegranate vinaigrette
“Piñata is among the best snacking apples around, and also a proven performer in the kitchen,” said Stemilt Marketing Director Roger Pepperl. “We’re excited to partner with such a talented and well-known chef like Ericka Burke to bring Piñata apples to Seattle foodies in new ways this season.”
Stemilt markets Piñata in a high-graphic tropical-themed box in order to help warm up produce departments each winter, the company says, and to help call out the apple’s sweet-tart and tropical flavor profile.
“It’s a great time of year to feature Piñata apples in produce departments, and the quality of this year’s crop is second-to-none,” explained Pepperl. “Piñata is ideal for health promotions in the New Year, and can always be featured for its culinary qualities or unique tropical flavor. Making Piñata apples a destination in your produce department is a must in these late winter months,” said Pepperl.
A cross between Golden Delicious and two heirloom varieties (Cox’s Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg), Piñata apples first hit the U.S. and Canadian markets back in 2009. In a sign of the apple’s growing popularity, retail scan data from Nielsen Perishables Group reported a 44.9% increase in sales of Piñata apples during the 2014-15 crop year. This figure includes all package types and both organic and conventional fruit.