Stemilt Details Strong Artisan Organics® Stonefruit Season and Merchandising Opportunities; Brianna Shales Shares
- by Peggy Packer
WENATCHEE, WA - As they look to uplift the produce department as a whole, retailers are welcoming the chance to boost the stonefruit category and increase basket share with Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™, as the grower’s peach and nectarine crops continue to see excellent quality and optimal flavor throughout the hot summer months.
“This year’s crop is honestly one of the best I’ve had,” says Marketing Director Brianna Shales, who’s been part of the Stemilt team for over 13 years. “They are incredibly juicy, the texture is exactly what you imagine a perfect piece of stonefruit to be, and the flavor is remarkable. I’m getting hungry just talking about them!”
Stemilt is currently seeing a higher brix level than usual on its peaches and nectarines, which, as Shales explains, is a result of the long, hot days in Pasco, Washington, and the Douglas family’s unique growing practices. These high sugars and great size profile offers retailers the opportunity to promote organic stonefruit in Stemilt’s Top Pick™ pack, a bold pack that designates premium fruit from the upper part of the tree where sunlight and precise picking deliver an incredible flavor experience, as noted in a press release.
“The Douglas’s have trained their crew members to look for stonefruit with full yellow backgrounds; a plump, circular shape; and an almost glossy finish. They start at the top of the tree when they begin harvest and move outwards and downwards based on the fruit’s state,” Shales explains. “We know their patience, techniques, and overall knowledge of stonefruit harvest is paying off, as consumer comments are rolling in about the wonderful taste and overall sensational quality they are experiencing. We are thrilled that we are fulfilling our mission of delighting consumers and look forward to this continued success in the months to come.”
The high quality of the varieties is attributed to the dry climate and many days of sunshine in Pasco, which creates favorable conditions for organic fruit, as well as the patience of the Douglas Family when it comes to harvest. The stonefruit experts picks only when the fruit is tree ripe, and moves through blocks three or four times before the tree is fully harvested.
“The Douglas family are long-time growers of peaches and nectarines and understand what’s needed to make this fruit thrive,” Shales adds. “Plus, they have a very skilled workforce that knows what to look for when harvest begins.”
Stemilt’s peaches are expected to last through the month of September, while its nectarines will wrap in the middle of September. Sizing for both offerings will increase near the middle of August, presenting retailers with the chance to promote bulk throughout the remainder of the season.
“There are promotable bag opportunities for the next two weeks while peach and nectarine sizes trend smaller,” explains Shales. “Bag options include our well-known organic Lil Snappers® 2 lb resealable pouch bag as well as the grab-and-go no-handle paper tote, which meets consumer demand for sustainable packaging and allows retailers to sell random-weight stonefruits.”
One of the secrets to driving stonefruit sales is really no secret at all. In fact, it’s right here on this page.