by Stemilt Growers
WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt’s Rainier cherry shipments are rolling out of Washington State. Volume was good for Fourth of July deliveries and a similar situation exists for the July 11th National Rainier Cherry Day celebration.
Stemilt has strong volumes of Rainier cherries in 2018, with conventional Rainiers even with last year’s volume and organic Rainiers up 50 percent. Organic Rainiers make up a small share of the overall Rainier crop. According to Stemilt marketing director Roger Pepperl, Rainier size and quality for conventional and organic fruit is exceptional this season.
“The color is stunning on Rainiers this season with great size and that classic, overwhelming sweetness that shoppers seek out,” said Pepperl.
Stemilt’s Rainier cherries are in season for two months and with heaviest volume being for the weeks of June 25, July 2nd, and July 9th.
A Stemilt Fruit Tracker™ analysis of Nielsen scan data during the past three cherry seasons shows Rainier cherries account for nearly 13.5 percent of cherry category shipments on average in the U.S. during their three-week peak in late June to mid-July. Rainier shipments are highest in the Western region throughout the season, and especially in the peak weeks.
Organic Rainier cherries are a niche item, but one that Stemilt has grown with purpose for decades.
“The organic category is booming, and fruits and vegetables are leading that growth,” said Pepperl.
Decades ago, Stemilt led the industry in creating a market for Rainier cherries. At the time, Rainiers were primarily pollenizers for Bing cherries, but emerging new sell-pollinating dark-sweet cherries reduced that need. Stemilt founder Tom Mathison saw the potential for a second, and very sweet, cherry and began farming Rainiers on a large-scale. Today, West Mathison, Stemilt president and Tom’s grandson, guides the company in growing large, sweet, and dessert-flavored Rainier cherries.
Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.