Stemilt Growers Reports Large-Size Cherries as Big Win for Retailers
WENATCHEE, WA - I mean this in the best way possible, but I simply lose my mind over cherries. The limited window in which I can enjoy them means that my cherry fever is currently high—and me and fellow shoppers are more than ready to see cherries in the produce department. Luckily, retailers have a friend in Stemilt, which recently reported that its branded cherry products are ready to hit the market.
“While there is a lot of uncertainty in today’s world, one thing is certain and that is large, dessert-quality cherries from Stemilt,” explained Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager. “We strive to grow for flavor, size, and firmness and this year’s crop is going to bring just that.”
Although frost did impact Washington’s cherry orchards and the volume of cherries they produced, Shales noted that the sheer size of the cherries will stun.
“Bigger cherries are appealing, sweeter, and help drive consumers to indulge in cherries,” Shales said. “Stemilt has long been ‘Home of the Big Cherry’ with advanced pruning strategies in place to produce large cherries. This year, we’re expecting peak sizing of 9-9.5 row. Cherries are and will continue to be an impulse purchase and it is necessary to make this seasonal fruit stand out. Retailers should display cherries in high-traffic areas and build large, hard-to-miss displays. If store trip frequency is down, retailers can remind shoppers about cherry season through digital ads, social media, and their online shopping platforms. Stemilt has the resources to help retailers with all their digital needs.”
Stemilt’s high-graphic displays are sure to get shoppers excited about the arrival of the summer fruit. Washington cherries are projected to start in early June with the peak to hit in July and carry into August. Starting in July, retailers can look to Kyle’s Pick®, a brand dedicated to packing the highest quality cherries that meet the criteria set by fourth-generation grower Kyle Mathison. Varieties that can be found in this pack include Bing, Sweetheart, Skeena, and Staccato®.
Stemilt also offers the A Half Mile Closer to the Moon Cherries™ brand, which follow in August and features cherries grown at elevations of 2,640 feet and higher—or more literally, a half mile closer to the moon. This brand includes Skeena, Staccato, and Sentennial™, all late season varieties with exceptional quality, size, color, and flavor.
“Branded packaging offers a transparency to the customer that they don’t get from a non-branded package,” explained Shales. “We try to bring as much transparency to the table as possible. Then we let our product do the talking. In the end, our hope is that the consumer will remember their eating experience with our cherries and come back looking for more.”
Retailers can also get excited for Skylar Rae®, a beautiful, bi-colored cherry that has the highest brix levels of any of Stemilt's cherry varieties. Stemilt expects a larger crop of Skylar Rae compared to last year with new acreage now in production. Skylar Rae cherries are available from early June to mid July.
“Our cherry program runs from start to finish and offers a true differentiation point for retailers through signature items like Skylar Rae to organics, Rainiers, and our story-telling brands,” said Shales. “We’re looking forward to sharing World Famous Cherries with shoppers all summer long.”
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