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Cherry producers see a positive future

bp cherries

Despite trade challenges, uncooperative weather, and finding enough workers to harvest a highly perishable crop, cherry industry professionals are secure in the knowledge that cherries are a healthy, highly anticipated treat.

What’s surprising is that only 30 percent of Americans eat cherries regularly.

“If 60 percent of Americans ate cherries more regularly,” says Mac Riggan, marketing director for Chelan Fresh Marketing BB #:170403 in Chelan, WA, “we could possibly sell out the whole crop just in the United States.”

For Mike Preacher, director of marketing and customer relations at Domex Superfresh Growers, LLC BB #:113721 in Yakima, WA, balance is key. “This season we’ve smoothed out production so there aren’t giant peaks. Because of how we manage our orchards, I see a good balance between supply and demand. When you can achieve a consistent crop with better quality, freshness, and shelf life, that prevents shortages in a strong market and helps support pricing and predictability.”

And in a marketing move that supports doing well by doing good, Rochelle Bohm, brand manager at CMI Orchards, LLC BB #:134183 in Wenatchee, WA, explains, “We established a program for apples called ‘American Dream’—a portion of proceeds from the sale of each case supports U.S. servicemembers, their families, and veteran causes.

“This year,” she continues, “we’re expanding the program to include cherries. The patriotic carton, which we ship during peak cherry season—June, July, and August—aligns with the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays as well as season-long summer promotions.”

This is a multi-part feature adapted from the Cherries Spotlight of the March/April 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.