Stemilt Ramps Up for Rushing Rivers® Summer Pear Season; Brianna Shales Discusses
- by Lilian Diep
WENATCHEE, WA - Like a river rushes toward the ocean, shoppers will soon be rushing to grocery stores in search of seasonal pear varieties. Currently in the full swing of harvest for its Rushing Rivers® conventional and organic Bartlett and Starkrimson pears, Stemilt is packing fruit fresh to order just in time to build out buyers’ back-to-school displays.
“It’s hard to believe we are already at that intersection between the summer and fall seasons for produce, but that’s what the start of pear harvest always signals for me,” said Marketing Director Brianna Shales, noting that early indicators point to a high-quality pear crop with a range of sizes for promotion and World Famous flavors. “Starkrimson and Bartlett pears are the first to come off the tree for Stemilt and are ready to promote at retail during the transition to fall sets and fall flavors.”
For the Starkrimson variety, supplies are trending toward normal fruit size, creating ample opportunities to promote bulk and bagged product at retail. Stemilt has two pouch bag offerings for this bright red fruit, including its back-to-school pack Lil Snappers®. The 3 lb pouch bag is a great feature alongside bulk ads that feature red and green pears, a press release stated. Stemilt also has a larger 5 lb pouch bag pack for the Rushing Rivers pear brand.
“Starkrimson is a fantastic eating red pear and available for the early part of the pear season,” said Shales. “This year’s fruit is super juicy with high sugars and true dessert eating quality.”
Stemilt is actively harvesting its Bartlett variety and packing both conventional and organic fruit. Bags are a great opportunity for organic Bartlett, and Stemilt has a 2 lb Artisan Organics™ Lil Snappers option to help attract parents to buy organic and snack-ready pears. There are also key times in the early fall months to promote bulk organic Bartlett pears.
“Organic pears are a challenge to grow, but we’re a believer and long-time leader in them,” added Shales. “This year, we have increased volume on organic Bartlett as new acreage has come into organic production. Starting the season off with an organic Bartlett feature is a great way to build organic and pear sales.”
On the conventional Bartlett side, Stemilt will have a similar size crop as last year and is harvesting fruit to help with the extension of supplies into February. The grower will have good supplies of bulk and bag sizes, but fewer jumbo-sized Bartletts this year.
“We’re fussy about Bartletts and do all the little things during and immediately after harvest to ensure great condition and quality at retail,” said Shales. “Bartlett benefits from hydro-cooling soon after harvest and are packed fresh to order. We also utilize our RipeRite™ ready to eat pear ripening protocol and Thermal Tech ripening rooms to deliver a great eating experience from the very start of the season.”
Stemilt’s summer and winter pear varieties are grown in the Wenatchee and Entiat River Valleys of Washington. Great airflow, a mountain climate that protects pears, and volcanic soils all combine to make these locales ideal for growing pears.
“There are many layers that make our Rushing Rivers pears the best, but the locales these pears call home are the center of our brand and help connect shoppers to the flavor difference that we work hard to achieve,” said Shales. “A great experience will drive consumers to another purchase of pears, and that’s simply the best way to build the pear category.”
In September, Stemilt will begin harvesting winter pear varieties, including Bosc and Concorde. D’Anjou pears harvest next and start shipping in October following a cold treatment and ripening process that ensures ready-to-eat fruit.
Make room for these sales-driving varieties across the store and you are sure to see a rise in basket share for pears.