CMI Orchards LLC has announced that the company is teaming up with Stemilt Growers to grow and market the bi-colored Skylar Rae® brand cherries.
Bob Mast, President of CMI Orchards, says the company is thrilled to add Skylar Rae® to its manifest and sees huge potential for continued growth. “Stemilt has done an outstanding job developing the brand and market for Skylar Rae®,” said Mast. “We wholeheartedly believe that an alliance between two of the industry’s powerhouse growers, CMI and Stemilt, will amplify the retail merchandising possibilities for this incredible cherry.”
Skylar Rae® cherries were discovered by the Toftness family in 2004, growing by chance in a Sweetheart cherry orchard in Wenatchee, Washington. With unknown parentage (DNA) and a distinctively different flavor profile and texture, this new cultivar was granted it’s own price look-up (PLU) number—only the third cherry variety with its own number—for easy distinction and sales segregation from dark sweet Red and bi-colored Rainier cherries. “Having a unique PLU number gives retailers a spectacular opportunity to capture substantial sales with an additional value added segment within the category during the highly profitable, short cherry season,” said Mast.
The Toftness and Van Hoven families, owners of the Skylar Rae® brand, described the process behind adding another sales agency to market their cherries. “We thought long and hard about the need to add additional sales power and CMI was absolutely the best choice for us to expand our program and leverage the fantastic work and consumer interest already generated by Stemilt,” Troy Toftness said. “With CMI’s experience marketing some of the very best global apple brands available today, bringing them in to help us meet growing retail demands for Skylar Rae® cherries was a logical move.”
“We are humbled and honored to become part of such a successful program,” said Mast. “Skylar Rae® cherries are not only super sweet, but they have a unique flavor and firmness that truly stands out and leaves customers begging for their return each season. We are really excited to work with the Toftness and Van Hoven families, and Stemilt, to expand the market for Skylar Rae® cherries.”
Skylar Rae® cherries will be available from CMI Orchards from mid-June, 2019.