CMI Orchards Joins Skylar Rae Brand Cherries Program

CMI Orchards LLC announces the company is teaming up with Stemilt Growers to grow and market the industry leading sweetest bi-colored Skylar Rae®® brand cherries.

Bob Mast, President of CMI Orchards, says the company is thrilled to add Skylar Rae® to its manifest and sees huge potential for continued growth with this high-flavor, exceptionally sweet, branded cherry. “Stemilt has done an outstanding job developing the brand and market for Skylar Rae®,” said Mast. “We wholeheartedly believe that an alliance between two of the industry’s powerhouse growers, CMI and Stemilt, will amplify the retail merchandising possibilities for this incredible cherry.”

Skylar Rae® cherries were discovered by the Toftness family in 2004, growing by chance in a Sweetheart cherry orchard in Wenatchee, Washington. With unknown parentage (DNA) and a distinctively different flavor profile and texture, this new cultivar was granted it’s own price look-up (PLU) number—only the third cherry variety with its own number—for easy distinction and sales segregation from dark sweet Red and bi-colored Rainier cherries. “Having a unique PLU number gives retailers a spectacular opportunity to capture substantial sales with an additional valueadded segment within the category during the highly profitable, short cherry season,” said Mast.

The Toftness and Van Hoven families, owners of the Skylar Rae® brand, described the process behind adding another sales agency to market their special cherries. “We thought long and hard about the need to add additional sales power and CMI was absolutely the best choice for us to expand our program and leverage the fantastic work and consumer interest already generated by Stemilt,” Troy Toftness said. “With CMI’s experience marketing some of the very best global apple brands available today, bringing them in to help us meet growing retail demands for Skylar Rae® cherries was a logical move.”

“We are humbled and honored to become part of such a successful program,” said Mast. “Skylar Rae® cherries are not only super sweet, but they have a unique flavor and firmness that truly stands out and leaves customers begging for their return each season. We are really excited to work with the Toftness and Van Hoven families, and Stemilt, to expand the market for Skylar Rae® cherries.” 

Skylar Rae® cherries will be available from CMI Orchards from mid-June, 2019. 


About CMI Orchards  

CMI Orchards is one of Washington State’s largest growers, shippers and packers of premium quality apples, pears, cherries, apricots and organics.  Based in Wenatchee, WA, CMI Orchards delivers outstanding fruit across the U.S.A. and exports to over 60 countries worldwide.

About Skylar Rae® Cherries  

Kim and Troy Toftness operate Tip Top Orchards LLC with their parents, Nancy and Robert Van Hoven and June and Jack Toftness. The brand is named after Kim and Troy’s first child, Skylar Rae®, who was born in 2004 with a congenital defect and lived for only 49 days. The family felt this would be a way to keep her memory alive. Skylar Rae® is a blushed cherry that resembles Rainier, but is sweeter and firmer and appears to have resistance to rain cracking and bruising. It matures about five to seven days before Bing Cherries.