Chelan Fresh's Kevin Stennes Discusses the Growth of Its Cascade Crest Organics® Brand
CHELAN, WA - With organics continuing to skyrocket in popularity, adding organic offerings to any produce section is a surefire way to drive key sales and shopper foot traffic. Here to help retailers is Chelan Fresh, which is bringing its expertise of five generations and 30 years of organic farming experience to produce aisles with its Cascade Crest Organics® brand. As the company continues to home in on new varieties to grab shopper attention, I sat down with Kevin Stennes, Organic Sales Manager and fourth-generation grower, to pull back the curtain on some of the brand’s latest developments and merchandising strategies.
“The 2020 crop was our second year with the exclusive organic SugarBee® variety and our very first year with organic Cosmic Crisp® and the exclusive organic Rockit™ varieties,” Kevin tells me. “We also brought the organic Rockit 3 lb shuttle pack to market for the first time, and it was very exciting to see how well-received it was by consumers!”
Following the successful introduction of organic Sugarbee, Cosmic Crisp, and Rockit varieties to its lineup, Chelan is continuing to keep its focus on increasing volumes across these consumer-favorite products. The company is also looking to add new varieties to its portfolio to offer shoppers a wide selection of flavor options.
“Our primary focus is on the expansion of volume across our new organic varieties such as SugarBee, Rockit, Cosmic Crisp, as well as for our newer strains of Honeycrisp and Pink Lady. We have successfully reduced or completely phased out older and undesirable strains and varieties over the past couple of seasons,” explains Kevin.
To help drive sales for its retail partners, Chelan and its Cascade Crest Organics brand are offering both bulk fruit and variety-specific 2 lb organic pouch bags which will enable consumers to quickly identify the variety they are looking to purchase. The pouches will also take the guessing game out of the equation as shoppers can easily see the quality of the fruit inside. Additionally, these packing options will allow retailers to create eye-catching displays featuring high-quality fruit.
As the year continues, Kevin explains that the Cascade Crest Organics brand is looking forward to diving into its spring pear season which includes organic d’Anjou and Bosc varieties. Later in the summer, the brand will also be offering organic cherries and pluots for consumers to munch on as they enjoy the heat.
One thing is for certain as I finish my conversation with Kevin—Chelan is bringing not only quality and variety to its business, but a passion.
“We LOVE what we do!” raves Kevin. “From the first steps of planting orchards to getting quality fruit into consumers’ hands, our team is passionate about producing healthy food and telling our story! Although we’re a large shipper, we are more of a smaller family farm cooperative model.”
How will this passion for organics and quality continue to lead Chelan toward success? Only time and AndNowUKnow will tell. So, stick with us as we bring you the latest.