Stemilt cherry harvest shifts to A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries

 Kyle Mathison
Kyle Mathison
(Stemilt Growers)

Stemilt’s A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries are set to make their grand return in August.

Led by fourth generation cherry grower Kyle Mathison, these specialty cherries stand out because of unique growing practices, choice of late-season varieties, and a brand vision to lead the cherry season finale with great quality and flavors.

“Every summer, we have consumers contacting us asking when these cherries will be available,” explains Brianna Shales, Stemilt marketing director. “They have certainly created a lasting impression season after season, so we are excited to deliver on that promise once again this year.”

The brand’s name, A Half Mile Closer to the Moon®, is inspired by its growing location where cherries are grown, literally, a half mile closer to the moon, at elevations of 2,640 feet and higher. Mathison has been growing these dark-sweet cherries in high elevations since the early 2000s, expanding his operations significantly over the last two decades allowing Stemilt to now be the main supplier of Washington-grown dark-sweet cherries for the remainder of the season. 

“Mathison is a talented grower and the demand for A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries brand proves that,” explains Shales. “These cherries keep a store’s season keep going with incredible flavors and a unique brand essence. It’s very important to add every week you can with a high-ring seasonal item like cherries.”

Shales expects to pack A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries through mid-late August, giving retailers the potential to carry them in store through the month. The varieties packed under the brand are late-ripening dark-sweet varieties with a nice sugar-acid balance and crunchy, firm bite. 

“These varieties were carefully chosen for their ability to grow in high elevations and late in the season,” explains Shales. “Mathison has learned what these varieties need to thrive, using his own custom compost to provide the tree nutrients and harvesting at the right times to ensure quality is maintained and flavor is achieved.” 

A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries are available in branded catch-weight bags and1lb. topseals. Retailers can build mystical displays using the brand’s high graphic boxes and placing those displays in high-traffic spots for maximum awareness. 

“The brand’s name and design is visually appealing and encourages consumers to pause. What captures them is the story behind these high elevation cherries and the flavor and quality result in repeat purchases,” states Shales. “Not only is growing cherries literally half mile closer to the moon unique, but the fact that they are harvested around the lunar cycles is unheard of.”

Mathison believes that the lunar gravitational pull, pulls sugars through the tree and into the cherries to give them a boost of flavor right before harvest. Each cherry is hand-picked in the early morning hours to maintain quality. Within an hour of harvest, cherries start the cold chain process and are kept cool until they hit store shelves.

Stemilt is also supporting the brand through a consumer-driven digital campaign that will launch in August in multiple key markets. The campaign is designed to bring awareness to the A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries brand through social media advertising, influencer partnerships, media coverage and more. Retailers can celebrate National Chant at the Moon Day on August 15. 

“National Chant at the Moon Day is a great way to engage consumers through the storytelling piece of the brand,” explains Shales. “The holiday is focused on the full moon and the reasoning behind Mathison’s harvest tactics. Retailers can have fun in store with Stemilt-designed signage and encourage consumers to pick up a bag and enjoy the last few days of summer by getting outside and chanting at the moon.”

Shales encourages retailers to utilize the unique story as much as possible to educate the consumer on where and how their food is grown. Shales believes education is crucial when it comes to creating brand awareness and the unique story is worth sharing.   

“Not only are they delicious, but A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries are mystical and carry a unique story that we love sharing with consumers,” explains Shales. “We hope retailers will use this opportunity as well to create a World Famous experience for their consumers.”


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