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Though some of the Northwest’s early cherries, particularly in the Rainier variety, saw diminished production due to weather conditions, Chelan, Wash.-based Chelan Fresh Marketing is promoting ample volumes and quality of peak-season reds.
“We are now shipping beautiful fruit, and some of our very best cherries are still to come,” said Mac Riggan, director of marketing for Chelan Fresh. “This is a great year to build demand,” Riggan continued. “We will see good cherries from this point on. Our estimated total production is 2.4 to 2.5 million boxes, and we’re not halfway through our season yet.”
To promote the fruit, Chelan Fresh is working with retail partners on special ads and providing free secondary display bins that Riggan said are known to generate additional sales for stores that use them.
An important factor in quality assurance is the pack provided by Chelan Fresh, according to general sales manager Tim Evans, who echoed Riggan’s enthusiasm for 2013 cherries: “Our season is very good and getting better.”
Produce departments are receiving the Bing and dark red varieties in 18-24-pound boxes of catch-weight bags, explained Evans, noting that new state-of-the-art electronic sizing and defect sorting lines further ensure excellent quality cherries on arrival.
Another indicator that Chelan Fresh Marketing’s cherry program is trending well, notes Kathryn Grandy, marketing coordinator, has come from the most important audience of all – consumers -- whose feedback has been highly favorable.