Northwest Cherries business updates - The Packer

Northwest Cherries business updates

05/22/2014 05:11:00 PM
Tom Karst

Harvest could start by the first week of June and go through about Aug. 1.

The harvest starts with the chelan variety and then moves to bings, Northern Fruit’s largest single variety. The latter part of the season is dominated by skeenas and sweethearts, he said.


Oneonta Starr Ranch adds sorter

A new optical sorting line for cherries is one of the highlights of the upcoming season for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash.

“We are really excited about our new Unitech optical sorting line,“ said Scott Marboe, director of marketing.

Oneonta Starr Ranch expects to market about 2 million to 2.1 million boxes this year. Marboe said the company is slowly growing its rainier program, which accounts for about 13% to 14% of the firms’ cherry volume.

“We’re trying to get it up to be about 25%,” he said.

The firm won’t have any organic cherries this year, but expects to offer them next season.


Oppenheimer's volume up from 2013

Jon Bailey, spokesman for the Oppenheimer Group, said the firm expects to market about 1 million cartons of 18-pound-equivalent boxes, with dark sweet reds accounting for 98% of that volume. Oppenheimer markets fruit from Orchard View Farms, The Dalles, Ore., Bailey said.

The overall volume marketed by Oppenheimer is about 15% to 20% higher than last year, he said.

Some crop potential was damaged by a freeze in December, notably of chelan variety trees, he said.

Harvest of cherries is expected to begin for Oppenheimer about June 10, with big volume starting after July 4.


Rainier Fruit Co. sponsors contest

Rainier Fruit Co. is engaging consumers on social media with a photo contest called “Show us your blooms.”

Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for the Yakima, Wash.-based company, said the #showusyourblooms contest, promoted across multiple social media platforms, asks participants to submit a photo of anything in bloom.

Rainier Fruit will select a winner the week after Memorial Day to receive their choice of either a box of cherries or blueberries and flower bulbs.

For the 2014 cherry season, Wolter said Rainier Fruit will offer about 15% rainiers and 85% dark sweet cherries.


Stemilt Growers upgrades offices

Celebrating 50 years in business, Stemilt’s sales and marketing staff moved to new offices in Wenatchee at the end of April, said Brianna Shales, communications manager.

Shales said Stemilt recently redesigned its website to encourage more social media interaction. When consumers scan quick-response codes on cherry packaging, they will be taken to the Stemilt website.

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