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Stemilt remains a leader in organic apples

The Mathison family, owners of Stemilt Growers, have been farming apples for more than a century. The apple variety mix has grown and changed greatly over the past decade, with new flavors arriving all the time.

“We strive to be on the cutting edge of that innovation by bringing up our own ‘club’ apples and also by growing more of the varieties that consumers are seeking,” said Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager for the Wenatchee, WA-based company.

Pinata-Apple-6621 “Honeycrisp set the new standard for consumer apple expectations,” she continued. “We are leaders in growing high-quality Honeycrisp and have a big share of organic Honeycrisp.”

In fact, 40 percent of Stemilt’s entire Honeycrisp crop is grown and certified organic. This isn’t by chance...it’s because the company has studied what consumers want and have aligned its orchards with that.

“We want to grow apple demand by growing the best varieties and focusing on flavor and quality first,” Shales said.

“It’s about doing a lot of things right. Our mission at Stemilt is to cultivate people and delight consumers,” she continued. “Delighting consumers means supplying retailers with the best varieties and doing so with quality and flavor in mind. If we can deliver a great eating experience and do so consistently, then consumers will want to return for more.”

The company’s apples are available year-round, but the winter season is still a big promotion time for the item.

Core varieties, organics, and new “club” apples are all widely available for retailers to promote year-around.

“At Stemilt, we have a few owned items that make their way into produce departments during the winter season. Pinata is a Stemilt signature apple with a flavor described as ‘crisp and juicy with classic apple flavors and a tropical twist,’” Shales said.

“We market this apple around a tropical theme which makes for fun and creative displays that make shoppers think of warm weather during the coldest months,” she added.

Approximately 40 percent of Stemilt’s entire Pinata crop is grown organically, which she said makes for a fun item to promote within the ever-growing organic category.

“When it comes to packaged apple items, we have the industry’s leading three-pound pouch bag program, Lil Snappers, that markets intent and convenience to parents and kids,” Shales said. “It’s become an everyday item for many retailers, comes in a number of varieties, and is available in organic too.”

Additionally, Stemilt has great supplies of consumer favorites like Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady to consistently promote apples in the winter months.

“It’s key for retailers to promote multiple varieties in both conventional and organic areas every month, or multiple times a month,” Shales said. “Apples need increased promotion and we recommend that retailers advertise apples regularly and do so with multiple varieties on sale at a time. The same can be said for organic apples.”

In 2020, Stemilt plans to be hyper-focused on its mission of delighting consumers.

“While we don’t have any new branded apples coming out in 2020, we are going to keep working on doing all the little things right to ensure our apples deliver on the promise of being world famous,” Shales said.

“We have increased supplies of newbies like Rave, which won’t be available again until August 2020 but is a big deal when it comes to kickstarting the new crop of apples at retail.”

Stemilt is also helping the industry launch Cosmic Crisp and anticipate having supplies of that much-talked about apple through January.