Domex Superfresh Growers prepping for strong cherry season

Cooler weather for 2017 has those at Domex Superfresh Growers preparing for a more normal timing with its cherry crops this season, a steep change from the early May 20 harvest of last year. Mike Preacher, Domex’s director of marketing and customer relations, noted the harvest will be more along the lines of the first few days of June.

The company expects the season to be a strong one and go later thanks to site selection and staggered harvest dates. That means Domex should be supplying retailers with cherries until the end of July.

“Over the past decade, our company has continually invested in varieties and locations that will extend the front-end and back-end of the cherry season,” Preacher said. “We know cherries are one of the highest dollar items in the produce department and we recognize the importance of helping retailers extending that as much as possible.”

Domex normally grows its fruit in climates that averages less than seven inches of rainfall per year, with growing regions in Yakima, WA, The Dalles, OR and Wenatchee, WA. The company’s cherry orchards get water thanks to the snow pack in the Cascade Mountains that melts in the spring and refills rivers with crisp clear water. This water is transported to the trees via irrigation systems all over the valley.

Thanks to a reduced risk of damage from the rain, its cherries develop maximum sweetness. However, last summer, there were 21 separate rain events that caused some stress for growers. Thanks to new equipment being utilized by Domex, many of those issues won’t be a worry if similar weather presents itself in the 2017 season.

As always, Rainier and dark sweet cherries will be primarily shipped in 27-pound Euro boxes containing 12 2.25-pound bags — other packing options include one- to four-pound clamshells.

“We continue to invest in technology from the orchard through the packingline and a lot of it goes to cold chain management,” Preacher said. “As soon as we harvest the cherries, we are bringing them down in temperature and transporting them to the packing shed and refrigerated trucks, helping to deliver optimal shelf life for consumers.”

Preacher said Domex works with its retail partners to provide a level of category management services that maximize sales.

“We want to make sure retailers are confident in promoting cherries this summer, and know hat we should have a strong supply,” he said. “We have optical sorters taking photographs of cherries to make sure there are no defects and we are really seeing dividends from that from the consumer perspective.”


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