Stemilt's Brianna Shales Talks California Cherry Season Timing, Promotional Windows, and More

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Tue. April 25th, 2023 - by Anne Allen

WENATCHEE, WA - Cherry season is nearly upon us, and I for one cannot wait to start seeing cherries at my local grocery store. The sales boost that cherries offer is only one element of their appeal, as they typically herald the start of premium summer promotions.

As we look ahead at the California cherry season, I touched base with Stemilt’s Marketing Director, Brianna Shales.

Brianna Shales, Marketing Director, Stemilt“Believe it or not, the season hasn’t started in California yet. Record cold temperatures this late winter/early spring delayed the onset of California cherry bloom, which means that California cherries are not starting in April like they did in 2022, but instead will start in May and go well into June,” Brianna explained. “We expect the earliest shipments to begin the first week of May, with May 8 as when most of the industry will be getting going. The late start means a shift to the promotional window for California cherries.”

Brianna told me that Stemilt expects to have the peak on red cherries the last 10 days in May and the first two or so weeks of June.

Stemilt expects the industry’s earliest shipments of California cherries to begin the first week of May, signaling a shift in the typical promotional window

“The great news is that, despite the cold weather, there has been a good crop set in California with the potential for the state to harvest/pack 8.7 million boxes,” she said. “Early indications show optimism for quality on cherries—and that is the key to any successful season!”

When it comes to merchandising cherries this summer, Brianna emphasized the importance of timing.

“Align with your cherry suppliers on this crop to understand the unique timing and how to promote this crop,” she continued. “At this time, there is a good potential for California cherry promotions, but late-May and early- to mid-June is when they are going to happen. Cherries are bought on impulse, so be sure to go all out with merchandising the fruits to help consumers grab them during these peak times.”

Stemilt expects to have a peak on red cherries the last 10 days of May and the first two or so weeks of June

When it comes to being a stellar partner to its retail customers, Stemilt has ample experience to make any cherry program shine.

“We are obsessive about choosing the right varieties for growing districts, and doing the best we can do to pick cherries at optimum size and maturity. Once picked, we focus on the cold chain and quick field to truck turnaround so that we can maximize freshness and put time back on the retailer side,” Brianna added. “At Stemilt, we make the promise of World Famous cherries to consumers and work very hard to do the little things correctly in order to meet that high standard!”

As we approach peak cherry season, stick with AndNowUKnow for the latest updates.