Stemilt Shifts Harvest to A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® Cherries; Brianna Shales Offers Insights
WENATCHEE, WA - Speaking from the perspective of not only a trade writer, but a millennial, I can say that consumers love unique, proprietary varieties when they go in search of new products. And buyers, Stemilt is shifting its cherry harvest to its highly anticipated A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries, offering up a prime opportunity to collect extra shopper dollars later in the season.
“Every summer, we have consumers contacting us asking when these cherries will be available,” explained Brianna Shales, Marketing Director. “They have certainly created a lasting impression season after season, so we are excited to deliver on that promise once again this year.”
The brand’s name is inspired by the location where the cherries are grown, a half mile closer to the moon, sitting at elevations of 2,640 feet and higher, according to a press release. Kyle Mathison, fourth generation cherry grower, has been harvesting the dark-sweet cherries at higher elevations since the early 2000s and expanding his operations over the last two decades, allowing Stemilt to become the main supplier of these Washington-grown dark-sweet cherries for the rest of the season.
“Mathison is a talented grower, and the demand for the A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries brand proves that,” added Shales. “These cherries keep a store’s season going with incredible flavors and a unique brand essence. It’s very important to add every week you can with a high-ring seasonal item like cherries. These varieties were carefully chosen for their ability to grow in high elevations and late in the season. Mathison has learned what these varieties need to thrive, using his own custom compost to provide the tree nutrients and harvesting at the right times to ensure quality is maintained and flavor is achieved.”
A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries are expected to pack through mid to late August, offering retailers the potential to have them in store throughout the month. The varieties are packed under the brand late-ripening dark-sweet varieties with a strong sugar-acid balance and a firm, crunchy bite.
This season, the cherries are available in branded catch-weight bags and 1 lb topseals. With high-graphic boxes and placing, retailers can build eye-catching displays in high-traffic areas for maximum consumer attention.
“The brand’s name and design is visually appealing and encourages consumers to pause. What captures them is the story behind these high elevation cherries and the flavor and quality result in repeat purchases,” said Shales. “Not only is growing cherries literally half a mile closer to the moon unique, but the fact that they are harvested around the lunar cycles is unheard of.”
Because of the lunar gravitational pull in the growing region, Mathison believes that sugars are pulled through the tree and into the cherries, giving them a boost of flavor right before they are harvested. Each cherry is then hand-picked in the early morning hours to maintain quality, and are then sent through the cold chain process within an hour of harvest and kept cool until they hit shelves.
In celebration of the brand, Stemilt will be launching a consumer-driven digital campaign that will launch in August across several key markets. The campaign is designed to bring awareness to the brand through social media advertising, influencer partnerships, media coverage, and more. Retailers can also celebrate National Chant at the Moon Day on August 15.
“National Chant at the Moon Day is a great way to engage consumers through the storytelling piece of the brand,” explained Shales. “The holiday is focused on the full moon and the reasoning behind Mathison’s harvest tactics. Retailers can have fun in store with Stemilt-designed signage and encourage consumers to pick up a bag and enjoy the last few days of summer by getting outside and chanting at the moon.”
To boost sales, Shales encourages retailers to draw attention ot the unique story of A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries, educating shoppers on where and how their produce is grown.
“Not only are they delicious, but A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries are mystical and carry a unique story that we love sharing with consumers,” commented Shales. “We hope retailers will use this opportunity as well to create a World Famous experience for their consumers.”
Coming only once a year, now is the chance to offer shoppers the chance to get A Half Mile Closer to the Moon and a whole lot of delicious cherry flavor. So, be sure to reach out to a Stemilt rep today!