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Stemilt urges post-Memorial Day cherry promotions

stemilt cherry orchard

April 23, 2024 WENATCHEE, Wash. – Extend your telescopes and look further into cherry season for promotional planning. Opportunity lies within post Memorial Day timing and now is the time to plan for promotable cherry volumes on the way from California.

Stemilt BB #:113654 marketing director, Brianna Shales, advises retailers keep the pedal to the metal with strategic promotions from May 23 through the end of the season.

“Here’s your chance to replace last year’s cherry dollars!” says Shales. “Historically, Memorial Day kickstarts cherry sales, but this year, you’ll want to keep feeding the fire well after the weekend because that will be just the beginning of our opportunity to move volume. Keeping ads running May 23 through the rest of the season will be key to finding success.”

Growing in both California and Washington state, Stemilt has the longest cherry season in North America. The first of the season’s cherries will come from the unique growing region of San Joaquin Valley including Brentwood, Westley, and then move to traditional growing sites like Stockton/Lodi before wrapping up in the River/Delta locale.

Based on bloom patterns from early sites, Stemilt’s cherry season will begin at the end of April. Compared to last year, this will be much earlier of a start which means there will be promotable volumes leading into Memorial Day and into mid-June.

“We need to shift our minds and promote from the last week in May to June 10th,” says Shales. “This is going to be the heart of the season and promotions will breathe life into the growth of cherry dollars. The three magic words to remember this season are timing, volume, and quality. Timing for both the California and Washington crops are significantly better than last year, and there will be abundant volume of quality cherries out there to promote. As long as you keep cherries in the front seat, you’ll see dollars increase from last year which will help move the category in the right direction.”

Stemilt looks ahead to this year’s crop being abundant and opportunistic for bringing consumers back to cherries. Last year, an oversupply and less than ideal crop timing across the industry resulted in a lack of momentum. Category results had many retailers selling more cherry volume, but sales were down compared to the 2022 season.

Cherries are one of the last seasonal items in produce and 75% of purchases are made on impulse. The use of enticing displays partnered with strategic promotions can help encourage repeat purchases all season long.

“The most important thing you can do is not forget about cherries,” says Shales. “Even if they’re not on promotion, avoid putting cherries on the back shelf and instead, give them plenty of shelf space. Stemilt’s door is always open to help your cherry program thrive with branded varieties including 5 River Islands™ cherries. Carrying a self-merchandising bag of cherries like these can help capture the attention of consumers looking for something new and special to try this cherry season.”

Stemilt offers the first taste of dark sweet cherries of the season to consumers with 5 River Islands that come from California’s Delta region. The sweet and tangy flavors of this premium bag of Lapin cherries is available in late May to mid-June.

“We want retailers to feel equipped with the best promotional windows and freshest cherries so they can write a new story for this season,” says Shales. “By keeping cherries on the front lines with strong promotions from Memorial Day through mid-June, we can find success together. Let’s get on board the cherry train before it starts, be strategic, and delight consumers with the taste of World Famous cherries!”

About Stemilt
Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice® program, which has been in place since 1989. For more information about Stemilt, visit

Contact Information:
Brianna Shales
Marketing Director