Stemilt Growers Announces the Return of its Skylar Rae® Cherry
WENATCHEE, WA - If I could qualify any month as perfect, it would be June. It marks the beginning of summer vacation, houses the longest day of the year, and has, in my humble opinion, the best weather. But what truly makes June so special is the quantity of readily available cherries. To add to this cherry-induced excitement, Stemilt announced the return of its Skylar Rae® brand Tip Top cultivar cherries.
“Retailers who carry Skylar Rae can build incremental sales within the cherry category, and do so at a high retail price,” said Brianna Shales, Communications Manager. “Your shoppers win because of its unique flavor and experience, and you’ll win by driving more dollars to the produce department with a third cherry SKU.”
In 2004, an accidental discovery of a cherry growing in an orchard block in Wenatchee, WA started the path to the trademarked Skylar Rae cherry brand. Its parentage is still unknown today. Chance cherries rarely become available for commercial production; however, this variety proved to be anything but ordinary. The company noted that Skylar Rae is known as “the sweetest cherry you’ll ever eat” because of its high Brix (sugar) levels ranging from 23-25 Brix. The cherry is also incredibly firm.
“It’s unheard of to have a bi-colored cherry be both sweet and extremely firm,” stated Shales. “Skylar Rae makes for an entirely new eating experience for the consumer. They will experience a crunchy, juicy bite with a sugary-sweet explosion of flavor, and will surely leave a lasting impression.”
As the exclusive marketer for Skylar Rae® cherries, the company has seen tremendous growth in demand since releasing the variety to the market in 2014. Volumes have increased significantly over the years, and 2018 is no exception, with new acreage coming into production to increase volumes by more than 25 percent from 2017.
According to a press release, Stemilt just started harvesting and packing the cherry and retailers should begin loading the product this week. Peak volumes will hit in about the fourth week of June and first week of July with the season wrapping around the third week of July.
“Skylar Rae has a limited availability window, so it’s important retailers jump on carrying it right away,” explained Shales. “We are excited about the quality in this year’s crop, with sizing trending large and absolutely stunning color. The time to promote this special sweet and crisp cherry falls perfectly around the Fourth of July giving retailers an extra boost.”
Skylar Rae is available in a dome-style 1lb. clamshell, and a 1.25lb pouch bag. Stemilt’s in-house marketing team designed both packages to show off the flair, flavor, and tagline of the popular variety. Stemilt also offers lane table display bins to set the product up in high traffic areas to encourage impulse buys.
“Cherries are an impulse purchase, so placing Skylar Rae in heavily populated, high traffic areas is the way to push sales,” said Shales. “Make displays fun with informative signage and encourage sampling in produce departments. Letting consumers get just a small taste of this new and delicious cherry is important to drive sales this year, and build excitement for future years.”
If that doesn’t make you crave cherries something fierce, I don’t know what will.