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Stemilt talks cherries, apples at SEPC

It’s no secret that the Washington apple crop is short this year, but according to Brianna Shales with Stemilt Growers there’s still plenty to be excited about. “Despite the short crop we have lots of opportunities for retailers in organics and our proprietary varieties such as Pinata!,” said Shales. With over 30% of their production devoted to organics, Stemilt is no stranger to high quality, organic apples, pears, and cherries. “We’re proud to say that this is our 30th year of farming organically” Shales added.

Topseal-SkylarRae In addition to ongoing opportunities with this season’s apple crop, the Stemilt team is also preparing to discuss the 2019 cherry crop. “It can seem early, but we’re going to be starting the cherry conversation,” said Shales, “this is the time we start talking plans and promotion timing.”

This season, Stemilt will be shipping their world famous cherries in new packaging. “We introduced a new top seal package in cherries last year and we’re going to have it available in a bigger way this season. It’s a great consumer pack and we’re really excited about it.” In addition to less plastic waste, the new top seal package lends itself particularly well to high graphics and eye catching designs which are sure to catch the eye of consumers in the produce section.

Also, the Stemilt team is working to educate customers on the unique harvest timing of their new signature apple variety, Rave. Shales explained, “It comes off the tree two weeks before any other apple so it’s actually harvested in the end of July. We’re working to shift the paradigm that apple season is going to be starting earlier with an apple that has Honeycrisp parentage.”

Rave was developed by the University of Minnesota’s breeding program and is a cross between Honeycrisp and MonArk apple cultivars. It is a fuchia-red, juicy apple that finishes with a snappy zing and is available approximately three weeks prior to any other apple variety currently on the market.