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   Dog Days Of Summer Drive High Demand For Artisan Organics Peaches & Nectarines
by Stemilt Growers
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2017 at 9:05AM EDT

WENATCHEE, Wash. – As the industry enters in the latter half of the summer, Stemilt Growers is preparing for another successful summer fruit season, with harvest of its organic apricots continuing along and organic peaches and nectarines on the horizon. Stemilt, who has farmed organically since 1989, suggests retailers take advantage of its brightly colored and bursting-with-flavor organic peaches and nectarines to boost organic sales and earn extra dollars before the end of the summer season. 

“Stone fruit is one of summer’s best treats,” states Roger Pepperl, marketing director at Stemilt. “Not only do peaches and nectarines scream the dog days of summer, they are a great, nutritious snack or the perfect topping for summertime desserts. And since they are organic, well, we are able to tap into another unique crowd that is driving the produce industry to a whole new level.” 

Stemilt’s entire crop of peaches and nectarines is certified organic, and has been since 2009. The decision to move to organic came to Stemilt and the Douglas family, a fourth generation farming family who owns Douglas Fruit in Pasco, WA and grows the majority of Stemilt’s stone fruits, more than a decade ago. 

“We knew organic farming wouldn’t always be the easiest path, but we firmly believed that it would be a great differentiation point for our peaches and nectarines, and that we could grow organically while keeping flavor and quality high because of the incredible locale that we farm these fruits at. After almost a decade, we know this to be true,” said Jill Douglas, co-president of Douglas Fruit. 

A mild spring and recent warm weather have poised Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ peach and nectarine crop for another memorable season. Stemilt marketing director Roger Pepperl states that peaches and nectarines will be average-sized with excellent sweet, flavor profiles that will “wow” consumers and provide them with an excellent eating experience. Retailers should begin the push on Artisan Organics™ peaches and nectarines in August, in high density areas and organic sections to encourage lofty movements of volume that will boost sales dollars before transitioning into fall produce items. With availability all August and most of September, Pepperl suggests using peaches and nectarines as a seasonal item for their Lil Snappers® kid-sized fruit program, as well as giving consumers the option of buying bulk. They should also utilize Stemilt’s story-telling display bins and Artisan Organic™ boxes to create a destination for these seasonal summer fruits. 

Organics overall, is an influencing trend that is growing within the ranks very quickly. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) reported that American consumers are spending nearly $50 billion on organic products, annually, with 14 percent of produce being organic. They also reported that America’s 75 million Millennials are now choosing organic and ensuring their families follow suit. Parents who are between 18-34 years of age are the biggest group of organic buyers in America. 

“Organics is a thriving consumer trend so retailers, growers, and producers need to jump feet first into the organic pool if they want to do it right,” Pepperl states. “Stemilt did it almost 30 years ago and that foresight positioned us as a leader in the pack.”

The Douglas family has farmed fruit in Pasco, WA for more than a century. With knowledge only gained through years of experience, the family sought organic farming as a way to naturally boost the depth of flavors of its peaches and nectarines. The growing locale is home to a dry, arid climate with a noticeable temperature swing from day to night and breeze from the nearby Columbia River. This joins volcanic, nutrient-rich soils to create the perfect environment for growing stone fruits organically. 

The Douglases focus on growing classic peach and nectarine varieties, as they recognize that shoppers prefer these fruits with both high sugars and acids. They continually remodel orchards with new varieties and growing techniques in order to offer shoppers the best flavors, and are committed to harvesting fruit when tree-ripe with high sugars, even if that means harvesting the same trees up to six times. Following harvest, fruit is rapidly and evenly jet cooled in order to maintain high qualities and shelf life.

“It’s these little differences that add up to the best peach and nectarine experience of the season,” said Pepperl. “Our Artisan Organics™ peaches and nectarines are juicy, and sweet with balanced acidity, and certified organic – all of these features are the perfect differentiation point for retailers to share and wow their shoppers with as we near the big months of August and September.”


About Stemilt

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is a leading shipper of sweet cherries and organic tree fruits. Stemilt has also demonstrated a commitment to sustainable agriculture and social responsibility since 1989, when founder Tom Mathison launched the company’s Responsible Choice program. For more information about Stemilt, visitwww.stemilt.com and follow Stemilt on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

Source: Stemilt Growers

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