The quality of the California cherry season plays an important role in the success of the start of Washington cherry season. When consumers have a great eating experience with California cherries, it will lead to repeat purchases once the Washington season starts. “What we are hearing is that retail sales of California cherries are off to an amazing start with great quality product this year,” says Blaine Markley with Rainier Fruit. “This is very promising for our season.”
Conventional and organic cherries start next week
Markley is excited Washington will be able to continue the excellent quality that was set by the Golden State. “Our quality for 2020 looks fantastic. This is a huge thanks to our experts out in the fields who not only have rigorous growing standards in place, but also grow cherries in micro-climates most optimal to grow each variety in,” she added. The warm weather Washington enjoyed over the past few months has resulted in harvest for both conventional and organic cherries starting the beginning of June.
Although the first weeks of harvest are important in terms of retail sales dollars, the later part of the season shouldn’t be underestimated. “Our Dark Sweet cherries will be harvested through the end of July, which is great for late season retail promotions,” said Markley. “We often see late season promotions bring in over 60 percent of retail sales dollars for the cherry season.”
Packaging increasingly popular
Rainier sells its cherries in bulk as well as packaged, but the company has continued to see growth in its bagged program over the years. “Packaging has many benefits. It allows consumers to see the quality of the cherries and at the same time, it makes it easy for the retailer to display in-store and promote online. In the current environment, packaging gives consumers and additional sense of security,” said Markley. With online purchases having increased significantly in recent months, Rainier wants to make sure it captures online promotions in the same capacity as a large front-of-store impulse display. “It is more important than ever for us to understand the shift in consumers’ needs during these times.”