Mac Riggan Reveals Chelan Fresh's Washington Cherry Opportunities and the 2020 United Fresh LIVE! Program
- by Jordan Okumura
CHELAN, WA - Oh, beautiful serendipity. With the coming of June brings two essential aspects of our industry’s success: the cherry season in Washington State and United Fresh LIVE! This year, California provided an ideal high-quality crop of cherries to kick start the U.S. West Coast run, and, as June gets underway, cherry demand is booming. Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing for Chelan Fresh, took a beat from a dynamic whirlwind harvest to talk shop with yours truly.
“We have hit the ground running in an already tight market on premium Washington cherries!” Mac shares with me adding that there may be some potential pricing relief as we move through the middle of June. “Quality and flavor have been excellent so far, and the brix levels have been high as well. Supplies are lighter than anticipated but, as we get closer to July, there will be good promotable volumes and we are partnering with our retail customers to elevate their cherry destinations and strategize the best avenues to drive sales.”
The Washington cherry season for Chelan Fresh will run till about August 10 as it moves through the central growing regions of the Eastern Cascades from the Pasco area, Yakima Valley to Chelan/Brewster and all the way up to Oroville. Chelan grows all its cherries in about a 150- to 160-mile stretch, starting with the Chelan variety and then proceeding through the summer months with Santinas, exclusive Orondo Ruby™ cherries, and then into Rainiers to name a few. From late June through July, Chelan will also be hitting all the Canadian varieties, including Lapins as well as Bings.
Chelan Fresh offers many tailored packaging options for retailers including 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-lb clamshells. The company also ships 1.25-lb bags for Rainiers and 2.25-lb bags for dark sweet cherries. All options and more can be discussed virtually at United Fresh LIVE!
“We are expecting really good retailer participation at the 2020 United Fresh LIVE! event. The beauty of this virtual event is that we can have all our sales and marketing team members on hand for any needs, questions, or solutions from the buyer that might arise. This is not something we have had the opportunity to execute at a traditional trade show,” Mac expresses. “We will be able to offer a tailored retail or foodservice experience for each buyer.”
Chelan Fresh will be showcasing its KORU® and SugarBee® apples as well as its exclusive Rockit™ brand program. And, of course, Washington cherries will be top of mind for the benefit of all.
If Chelan Fresh is not already on your target list, you had better shape up before this boat ships out! In other words, the Chelan Fresh experience is not one to be missed.