Borton & Sons strong on rainiers

Yakima-based Borton & Sons Inc. expects to market about 250,000 to 300,000 boxes this year and rainiers will make up about 80,000 to 100,000 boxes, said Ron Everts, grower relation representative with the company.

The company has been marketing cherries about seven years, Everts said. Borton & Sons expects to harvest starting June 5-10, with the harvest continuing to about the third week of July.


Northwest Cherries business updatesChelan Fresh promotes cherry cup

A bigger crop and bigger plans for its consumer cup of cherries are on tap for Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash.

The company expects to market about 3.2 million boxes of dark sweets and about 300,000 boxes of rainiers in 2014, said Mac Riggan, marketing director.

Chelan Fresh marketed about 2.6 million boxes of dark sweets and 204,000 boxes of rainiers last year.

Chelan Fresh offers a cup of cherries with a “smart” lid that allows consumers to dispose of the seeds in the lid. Packing line electronic sorting allows easy segregation of cherries with no stems, he said.

“This year we are hoping to quadruple volume,” Riggan said.

Each pack usually includes 26-30 11-row cherries in a 16-ounce cup that equals about one half dry pint.

Riggan said Chelan Fresh plans to double the volume of the Orondo Ruby cherry, with 46,000 boxes.

The variety will be marketed from about June 18 through July 1, he said. The fruit will be offered in 1- and 3-pound clamshells, and exported in 2-kilo boxes.

Chelan Fresh will feature a Disney label promotion with a 2-pound bag and 1-pound clamshells. Riggan said the Disney promotion could account for about 10% of the firm’s cherry sales.


FirstFruits expects early June start

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington LLC, Yakima, expects to market about 500,000 dark sweet cherries and close to 150,000 boxes of rainier cherries in 2014, said Keith Mathews, chief executive officer of the company.

Cherry shipments are expected to start about June 8, Mathews said, and peaks in harvest volumes are expected July 4 and then again in mid-to-late July, Mathews said.

The firm markets cherries from 50 miles south of the Columbia River Oregon to Yakima and Quincy.


Northern Fruit Co. leads with chelans

Northern Fruit Co. plans to handle between 400,000 to 500,000 boxes of cherries this year, said Bill Knight, domestic sales manager for the Wenatchee-based company.

Harvest could start by the first week of June and go through about Aug. 1.

The harvest starts with the chelan variety and then moves to bings, Northern Fruit’s largest single variety. The latter part of the season is dominated by skeenas and sweethearts, he said.


Oneonta Starr Ranch adds sorter

A new optical sorting line for cherries is one of the highlights of the upcoming season for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash.

“We are really excited about our new Unitech optical sorting line,“ said Scott Marboe, director of marketing.

Oneonta Starr Ranch expects to market about 2 million to 2.1 million boxes this year. Marboe said the company is slowly growing its rainier program, which accounts for about 13% to 14% of the firms’ cherry volume.

“We’re trying to get it up to be about 25%,” he said.

The firm won’t have any organic cherries this year, but expects to offer them next season.


Oppenheimer's volume up from 2013

Jon Bailey, spokesman for the Oppenheimer Group, said the firm expects to market about 1 million cartons of 18-pound-equivalent boxes, with dark sweet reds accounting for 98% of that volume. Oppenheimer markets fruit from Orchard View Farms, The Dalles, Ore., Bailey said.

The overall volume marketed by Oppenheimer is about 15% to 20% higher than last year, he said.

Some crop potential was damaged by a freeze in December, notably of chelan variety trees, he said.

Harvest of cherries is expected to begin for Oppenheimer about June 10, with big volume starting after July 4.


Rainier Fruit Co. sponsors contest

Rainier Fruit Co. is engaging consumers on social media with a photo contest called “Show us your blooms.”

Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for the Yakima, Wash.-based company, said the #showusyourblooms contest, promoted across multiple social media platforms, asks participants to submit a photo of anything in bloom.

Rainier Fruit will select a winner the week after Memorial Day to receive their choice of either a box of cherries or blueberries and flower bulbs.

For the 2014 cherry season, Wolter said Rainier Fruit will offer about 15% rainiers and 85% dark sweet cherries.


Stemilt Growers upgrades offices

Celebrating 50 years in business, Stemilt’s sales and marketing staff moved to new offices in Wenatchee at the end of April, said Brianna Shales, communications manager.

Shales said Stemilt recently redesigned its website to encourage more social media interaction. When consumers scan quick-response codes on cherry packaging, they will be taken to the Stemilt website.

The website is geared to be mobile-friendly and give consumers everything the site offers no matter the platform the consumer uses.


Washington Fruit installs sorter

A new optical cherry sorter highlights developments at Yakima, Wash.-based Washington Fruit & Produce, said Chris Falk, vice president. The sister company of Washington Fruit & Produce, The Dalles Fruit Co., The Dalles, Ore., also has retrofitted its cherry line with an optical sorter made by Unitech.

The sizing is more accurate than the traditional row sizing, he said.

“The main thing we are after this first season is improved row sizing, color sorting and defect sorting,” he said.