Chelan Fresh Marketing expects to generate marketplace buzz in 2013 with the Orondo Ruby cherry variety. “It is exclusive to us,” said Director of Marketing Mac Riggan.
Orondo Ruby cherries are a supersweet variety with a vibrant red appearance and golden yellow flesh.
“Some serious growth will occur with this cherry,” Riggan stated about future prospects.
Chelan Fresh has been moving fresh tree fruit since 2004.
Serving as a link between growers and retailers, Chelan Fresh represents more than 419 growers from its headquarters in Chelan, WA.
Riggan said acreage for the company’s growers has increased this cherry season due to new acquisitions and blocks coming into bearing. “We have a wide manifest of dark sweet cherries,” he said. Chelan Fresh anticipates marketing 3.5 million boxes of cherries this year, a significant increase from the 2.3 million boxes moved in 2012.
“We do a little organic,” he added. “We’re planning to expand our organic cherries in the future.
“There was sporadic damage [attributed to weather] in the southern districts,” he said.
The harvest typically begins around June 10. Riggan said volume from the Pacific Northwest will have some overlap with California during the early deal. “We’re looking for good-sized fruit. It looks like a big July and big August. We’re a major part of the late deal,” he said.
Approximately 65 percent of the company’s volume is sold to domestic customers. “We market heavily to retail,” Riggan stated. Product is sold under the “Chelan Fresh” and “Trout” labels.
This season, Chelan Fresh will introduce its new cherry pouch bag. According to Riggan, the bag has the merchandising look of a clamshell but feels like a two-pound bag.