Harvest is under way for Stemilt’s all-organic peach and nectarine crop in Washington state, and natural farming methods are proving yet again to deliver summer fruits with true dessert flavors.
“This is the sixth season that our entire peach and nectarine crop is grown and certified as organic," Roger Pepperl, Stemilt's marketing director, said in a press release. "Consumer demand for organic fruit is very high, and we look forward to supplying organic peaches and nectarines that burst with flavor during the final stretch of summer."
Stemilt’s peaches and nectarines are packed under its "Artisan Organics" label and available from late July to mid-September. The majority of these summer fruits are grown by the Douglas family of Douglas Fruit in Pasco, WA. The family has been farming fruit in Washington state since the early 1900s and has grown peaches since 1980.
Back in 2007, the Douglas family and Stemilt transitioned their entire crop of peaches and nectarines to organic production. They took their first all-organic peach and nectarine crop to market in 2009 and haven’t looked back since.
“The move to organics brought our trees into balance from a horticultural standpoint, and balanced trees deliver fruit with higher sugars and acids, resulting in a better eating experience for consumers,” Jill Douglas, general manager of Douglas Fruit, said in the press release. “We also benefit from growing peaches and nectarines in the best locale. The Columbia Basin and Tri Cities area of Washington state has a volcanic-rich soil and is known for having long, warm summer days that build the fruit’s flavor and cool nights to reenergize trees. The perfect combination that is only enhanced by farming the fruit with natural methods.”
The 2014 season is trending a week ahead of normal with growing conditions from spring bloom through summer described by growers as “absolutely ideal” for peaches and nectarines, Pepperl said.
“The fruit looks and tastes incredible," Pepperl said in the release. "Vibrant colors, juicy and sweet flavors with a good amount of acid. Our focus on tree-ripened fruit ensures a consistent level of maturity to further enhance the consumer eating experience. Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines offer retailers with a true differentiation point to their late summer fruit program. We look forward to delivering a premium, high-flavored crop in the coming months.”
Stemilt has a variety of merchandising materials to assist with promotions around Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines, including pop-up display bins and signage that features the Douglas family and conveys their commitment to organic farming practices.