Stemilt Reflects on Rushing Rivers™ Pears Program's Success

Mon. October 5th, 2015
- by Jessica Donnel     

WENATCHEE, WA - Since the label debuted in August 2014, produce shoppers have been experiencing a piece of where the pears they buy come from through Stemilt’s Rushing Rivers™ pears. Stemilt introduced the label last year as a way to share with consumers the two renowned locales, the Wenatchee and Entiat River Valleys in Washington State, where the company grows and packs its pears.

Stemilt's Wenatchee Pear Orchards

Now with new packaging, POS signage, and a new drone-filmed video that shares the unique story of Stemilt’s pear growing locales, the company is telling produce shoppers something they want to know now more than ever—where their food was grown.

Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director, Stemilt Growers

“The Rushing Rivers™ pear label was developed to share the story of where and how our pears are grown, something that 2 out of every 3 consumers have stated through research studies that they want to know,” shared Stemilt’s Marketing Director Roger Pepperl. “The Wenatchee and Entiat River Valleys are heritage sites for growing pears and the place where our pears have called home for decades. The Rushing Rivers™ label informs consumers that the pears they are buying come from a special place, and from multi-generational family farmers who are passionate about quality and flavor.” 

You can watch Stemilt’s new, beautiful drone helicopter video below to learn and see more about Stemilt’s Rushing River pears program.

This year’s Washington pear harvest both started and ended earlier due to an early spring and warm summer temperatures. Stemilt finished picking its share of the Northwest pear crop in late September, and according to Pepperl, pear crop volumes are slightly down, while quality and flavor for Rushing Rivers™ pears are characteristic of any crop grown in the two renowned river valleys. But as we’ve previously reported, fruit size is a differentiator between this year and last for key pear varieties like Bartlett, green d’Anjou, and red pears. 

Stemilt's Lil Snappers

“Fruit size often slows down with warm summer temperatures, and the big heat wave we had in Washington State this summer means that most pear varieties will trend a size smaller this year,” said Pepperl. “This makes bagged pears a great option for retailers. Along with Rushing Rivers™ bulk displays, we have the top-selling pouch bag program for pears in our 3lb. Lil Snappers™ kid-sized fruit program to help bring additional dollar and volume sales to the category.” 

With families being among the biggest consumers of pears and Lil Snappers® grab-and-go 3lb. pouch bag, these smaller varieties are the perfect size for today’s busy family. Retailers can build great bulk displays and promote multiple varieties of pears throughout the fall and winter months using Rushing Rivers™ pear cartons, signage, and even video displays. 

Stemilt's Rushing River Pear Cartons

The Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley run parallel of each other, separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin HI-UP Growers, a leading growers’ cooperative, have been farming pears in these river valleys for decades. 

“Pears are right at home in these two valleys,” said Pepperl. “The mountains protect pears and consistently draw clean air down through orchards to keep air flowing through each tree, which results in clean, premium-quality fruit. The rivers that run alongside our orchards are a great pure water source for trees. There’s no better place for pears to call home.” 

Stemilt's Wentachee Valley

Stemilt will feature Rushing Rivers™ pears at booth #2453 at PMA Fresh Summit it Atlanta later this month.