Giumarra Companies' Jeannine Martin and Kellee Harris Discuss California Stonefruit
- by Anne Allen
LOS ANGELES, CA - The anticipation of summer stonefruit might actually be the reason I make it through the winters so easily. (And the fact that I live in California.) The versatility of flavors and varieties brings me down the produce aisle multiple times a week, and I know I’m not the only consumer prepared to drop some serious cash on nectarines this season. To help me understand the state of the stonefruit season so far, and what buyers need to know, I spoke with Giumarra Companies’ Jeannine Martin and Kellee Harris.
“We have the best of the best industry varieties to offer, but additionally Giumarra has our DulceVida™ proprietary yellow and white nectarine varieties that take flavor to the next level,” noted Jeannine, Sales Director and Corporate Vice President. “I've had requests for these nectarines over and over by friends and family that remember the gift of fruit I had dropped off to them, saying ‘Do you remember that nectarine you gave us last year? We want more of those!’ It is so satisfying to see a consumer appreciate the flavor and retain the experience as something they would like to repeat.”
Jeannine went on to explain that stonefruit competes for shelf space when up against cherries, grapes, watermelons, and berries, but Giumarra offers its own merchandising materials to help the category shine.
“We are focused on offering our retailers more ways to gain sales through impulse purchases via our packaged DulceVida line, as well as our tote bag program,” mentioned Kellee, Western Business Development Director. “Consumers are anxious to get out and enjoy seasonal activities now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and stonefruit gives them that ‘taste of summer’ we are all so hungry for right now.”
The tote bag program Kellee referred to is a promotional offer of a free sustainable tote bag with a qualifying purchase. This is an easy way for retail produce teams to build “grab-and-go” displays and encourage shoppers to think of fruit for multiple eating occasions.
Giumarra also offers eye-catching packaging in 2.5 lb and 4 lb consumer boxes for its DulceVida program, plus a 2 lb high graphic pouch bag. As Kellee told me, the boxes and bags merchandise together beautifully, and the consumer boxes feature a clear lid for safety considerations.
A wide variety of plated photography and easy nectarine recipes for social media posts is also available through Giumarra, plus in-store point of sale grower story cards and “cell-ready POS recipe cards” that allow customers to snap a photo of the card and take it home.
To support the program, you have to have solid stonefruit farmers, and Giumarra certainly does. Its grower partners know how important it is to grow and nurture the tree to produce fruit that a consumer will take home and enjoy.
“Initial harvests of white peaches have had great color and brix, and the apricots were smooth skinned with a beautiful orange appearance. Yellow nectarines just started their harvest, with color and appearance excellent,” Jeannine continued. “Yellow peaches were a stunner with excellent ‘eat-ability’ and deep red color, and white nectarines will harvest a few days after the yellow nectarines.”
When I asked about the predicted pricing across the category, Jeannine imparted me with the following.
“As our country slowly opens back up from a shutdown, we are anxious to see how consumers will make decisions on what goes into their market basket,” she noted. “Traditionally stonefruit opens with higher market prices. Once it levels out, movement picks up.”
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