CMI Orchards' George Harter Discusses Tight Cherry Market
WENATCHEE, WA - We might be in a tight cherry market for now, but it looks as though summer demand will be supplied soon. George Harter, VP of Marketing for CMI Orchards, was all excitement and anticipation when we recently discussed the fruit.
“We are very excited about what we’re seeing. We started shipping in a small way last week, and over the weekend into next week will be when we start shipping in a big way,” George tells me. “The cherry market is currently tight, but we feel we are perfectly positioned to fill the pipeline with northwest cherries in the weeks to come.”
And those cherries are reportedly looking good, with size, taste, and quality all hitting high marks.
“We have perfect timing on the deal; we will have huge promotional opportunities in alignment with Independence Day celebrations. The season is shaping up in all the best ways to be a monumental one for cherries,” George assures me.
It will be a big one for CMI Orchards, in particular, as the company brings to market its first-ever Skylar Rae® cherry crop.
“We’ve been asked by the Toftness family to join Stemilt Growers, who has pioneered the Skylar Rae cherries, to help build the volume of this cherry. It has such an amazing story and flavor and we are looking forward to help grow that even further,” George shares.
Speaking of growth and high-demand cherries, I ask George how retailers can maximize on a product that already has such a strong feeling, and he doesn’t hesitate.
“If any retailer wants to increase cherry sales, the best way is to keep them fresh and put them on a front display for customers to see them. Cherries are a totally impulsive item—if you put them in the front of the display, you will see a 30 to 40 percent increase in incremental sales,” he says.
CMI Orchards takes it one step further by seeking to make this as easy for the buy-side as possible.
“If you’re a retailer, CMI makes it easy on you. We have a shipper that you can put directly on the floor, perfect for high-traffic areas to really capture those impulse sales. We have an almost instant display vehicle and it’s seeing a lot of success,” his explains.
In-swing just in time for those outdoor barbecues, kicking off with Independence Day demand, it looks as though we might soon get to keep calm and cherry on!