Stemilt Growers Meets High Demand for Artisan Organics™ Peaches and Nectarines this Summer
- by Jordan Okumura
WENATCHEE, WA – With the industry entering the second half of the summer, Stemilt Growers is primed to begin harvest of organic peaches and nectarines. Stemilt—an organic grower since 1989—has suggestions for retailers to take advantage of the company’s brightly-colored, full-of-flavor organic peaches and nectarines to add ring at the register and boost organic sales.
“Stonefruit is one of summer’s best treats,” said Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director, in a press release. “Not only do peaches and nectarines scream the dog days of summer, they are a great, nutritious snack or the perfect topping for summertime desserts. And since they are organic, well, we are able to tap into another unique crowd that is driving the produce industry to a whole new level.”
According to the company’s press release, a mild spring and recent warm weather have poised Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ peach and nectarine crop for another memorable season. Pepperl noted that peaches and nectarines will be average-sized with excellent sweet, flavor profiles that should “wow” consumers and provide a great eating experience. Retailers should begin the push on Artisan Organics™ peaches and nectarines in August, in high-density areas and organic sections to boost sales before transitioning into fall produce items.
With fruit available through August and most of September, Pepperl suggests using peaches and nectarines as a seasonal item for their Lil Snappers® kid-sized fruit program, as well as giving consumers the option of buying bulk. Retailers seeking to increase visibility and sales can use Stemilt’s story-telling display bins and Artisan Organic™ boxes to create a destination for the seasonal summer fruits.
Since 2009, when Stemilt and the Douglas family—a fourth generation farming family that owns Douglas Fruit and farms the lion’s share of Stemilt’s stonefruit—made the decision to switch from conventional, Stemilt’s entire crop of peaches and nectarines has been certified organic.
“We knew organic farming wouldn’t always be the easiest path, but we firmly believed that it would be a great differentiation point for our peaches and nectarines, and that we could grow organically while keeping flavor and quality high because of the incredible locale that we farm these fruits at,” said Jill Douglas, Co-President of Douglas Fruit. “After almost a decade, we know this to be true.”
The company also noted that organics is a growing segment. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) reported that American consumers are spending nearly $50 billion on organic products, annually. Some 14 percent of produce purchased is organic, and 75 million Millennials are now choosing organic and ensuring their families follow suit—with parents between 18-34 years of age are the biggest group of organic buyers in America.
“Organics is a thriving consumer trend so retailers, growers, and producers need to jump feet first into the organic pool if they want to do it right,” Pepperl said. “Stemilt did it almost 30 years ago and that foresight positioned us as a leader in the pack.”
The Douglas family has farmed fruit in Pasco, Washington—a growing locale with a dry, arid climate, a noticeable temperature swing from day to night, breeze from the nearby Columbia River, and a volcanic, nutrient-rich soils—for more than a century. According to Stemilt, the family sought organic farming as a way to naturally boost the depth of flavors of its peaches and nectarines.
With a focus on growing classic peach and nectarine varieties, the Douglas family recognize that shoppers prefer these fruits with both high sugars and acids and continually remodel the company’s orchards with new varieties and growing techniques in order to offer shoppers the best flavors. Douglas Fruit is committed to harvesting fruit when tree-ripe with high sugars, even if that means harvesting the same trees up to six times. Following harvest, fruit is rapidly and evenly jet cooled in order to maintain high qualities and shelf-life.
“It’s these little differences that add up to the best peach and nectarine experience of the season,” added Pepperl. “Our Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines are juicy and sweet, with balanced acidity, and certified organic—all of these features are the perfect differentiation point for retailers to share and wow their shoppers with as we near the big months of August and September.”
According to the company’s press release, a mild spring and recent warm weather have poised Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ peach and nectarine crop for another memorable season. And Pepperl noted that peaches and nectarines will be average-sized with excellent sweet, flavor profiles that should “wow” consumers and provide a great eating experience.
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