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“It’s my reputation on the line, and that means it must be World Famous.” That’s the message fourth generation cherry grower and Stemilt co-owner, Kyle Mathison, is sending with the launch of Stemilt’s new Kyle’s Pick premium cherry program.
The Wenatchee, Wash.-based company is packing cherries in new random-weight pouch bags with a Kyle’s Pick seal on the front to signify the high-quality cherries inside. The launch of Kyle’s Pick falls at the same time Mathison’s harvest on the legendary Stemilt Hill in Wenatchee is ramping up.
According to Stemilt marketing director Roger Pepperl, the best varieties, sizes, and flavors are reserved for Kyle’s Pick bags because those are the exact qualities that Kyle strives to grow. Varieties like Hill Bings, Sweetheart, Skeena, and Staccato go in Kyle’s Pick bags. Lapin and several other varieties will not be in July’s pack. Fruit firmness, size, and sugar levels are other indicators Stemilt uses to identify premium cherries for Kyle’s Pick bags.
“As a leader in cherries, Stemilt’s philosophy is to continually raise the standard for cherries in order to enhance the consumer eating experience,” notes Pepperl. “Kyle is well-known in the industry as a top farmer and his passion for growing the very best is unmatched. The Kyle’s Pick program gives us a platform to share his vision and passion with consumers. It’s a premium program that differentiates Stemilt cherries at retail.”
Stemilt will pack the random-weight Kyle’s Pick pouch bag throughout the month of July and into early August. Once Mathison begins harvesting cherries atop his high-elevation orchards, called Amigos, Stemilt will pack the second pouch bag in the Kyle’s Pick program, called "Half Mile Closer to the Moon."
Moon cherries are another unique offering of Stemilt’s. The high-elevation location of the Amigos orchard allows Mathison to harvest cherries into late August, which is also later than anyone else in Washington State. “For every 100 feet increase in vertical elevation, cherry harvest is pushed back one day,” said Mathison. “At Amigos, we’re farming cherries between 2,800 and 3,200 feet above sea level – literally a half mile closer to the moon.”
Mathison’s unique approach to farming cherries also added to the inspiration for the Moon cherry program, Pepperl said. “Kyle likes to harvest cherries during a full moon because the strong gravitational pull helps deliver nutrients to trees and build sugars in the fruit. His Moon Cherries leave a lasting impression on shoppers and are the perfect season finale to the Kyle’s Pick and Stemilt cherry program,” said Pepperl.
The quest to grow World Famous Cherries is what drives Mathison out of bed every morning. He farms cherries in California, Washington, and Chile, and when he is not farming, he’s traveling the world looking for new cherry varieties to nurture. All of these efforts are done for one reason: to build memory and trust with the consumer.
“It’s the caveman instinct,” explains said Mathison. “If someone eats a cherry that explodes with flavor, they remember that experience, and will likely go back to the same ‘bush,’ or grocery store, for more. We can build demand for cherries by delivering dessert quality fruit day in and day out. By reserving the best of our world famous cherries for our Kyle’s Pick program, we are delivering just that,”
Retailers can get more information about Kyle’s Pick cherries by contacting their Stemilt representative or visiting here.