Domex Superfresh Growers anticipates good volumes of quality cherries for Independence Day retail promotions. “We are in-step with the industry numbers and will see an increase of approximately 40 percent over last year,” said Vice President of Marketing Howard Nager, who added that industry estimates are placing cherry volume for the Pacific Northwest at approximately 20 million boxes.
“The weather impacting this year’s Northwest cherry crop has been great for producing large, sweet cherries,” he continued. “The season should kick off the first week of June with ample supplies for July 4th promotions.”
The company, located in Yakima, WA, grows and markets both conventional and organic cherries. “Organic cherries are very difficult to grow and pose many challenges for growers,” Nager stated. “At Domex, we will ship approximately 5 percent of our crop as organic.” Dark sweet varieties as well as Rainiers are produced.
Nager provided The Produce News with a snapshot of the company’s production timetable. “The first Bing peak will be on June 16-22, the Rainiers peak around June 28 and the second peak in July will be around July 8-25. We have a new proprietary cherry variety that will be harvested toward the end of August and be sold into the first week of September.”
In addition to its North American sales, Domex Superfresh Growers exports cherries to the Far East and Southeast Asia.
On the facilities side, Nager said the company’s cherry-packing facilities in Selah and Wenatchee, WA, both have state-of-the-art equipment utilizing 12-lane Red Pearl optic sorters as well as GP graders/optic sorters. “This equipment provides us with digital defect-, size- and color-sorting capabilities, which allows for better uniformity in packs,” Nager commented.
Domex Superfresh Growers plans to pack both dark sweets and Rainiers in stand-up gusseted zippered pouch bags this season.
“We will be providing secondary merchandising bins, which are an ideal way for retailers to grab incremental sales,” he went on to say. “According to research conducted by the Perishables Group, cherry dollar sales increase 22 percent when secondary displays were used, and cherry volume increased over 13 percent.”
This season, Domex Superfresh Growers will conduct a “Sweeten Up Your Summer” contest on its social media sites at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The contest can be accessed through www.superfreshgrowers.com. “The promotion will run from June 15 through July 15 using the hashtag #EatCherries,” Nager noted. “The idea is to connect cherries with fun summer activities. We will be sponsoring Twitter parties, providing POS material to participating retailers as well as awarding a grand prize of $1,000 to one lucky consumer.”