(May 11) CHICAGO — Weight Watchers International went cherry picking in the search for its next promotional item.

From July through September, cherries will be the “pick of the season” item in the Weight Watchers program, said Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing.

In the promotion, Riggan said the Chelan, Wash., firm would partner with fellow Washington shippers Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, and Oneonta Trading Corp., also of Wenatchee.

The fact that a cup of cherries equal only one point on the Weight Watcher scale is a great promotional aspect, he said. Most participants are allowed just 20-30 points a day, depending on their weight. As a point of reference, a McDonald’s Big Mac with medium fries is 21 points, according to Weight Watchers.

Stemilt plans to conduct in-store promotions with select customers, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.

The firm will pack a small portion of its cherries for the program, which entails signage and frozen food tie-ins, he said.

Oneonta was unavailable for comment May 11.

Cherry buyers may wonder how the promotion will be extended, considering Washington’s cherry harvest peaks in June/July and ends in August.

Promotions will encourage consumers to purchase several bags at once — consuming one then and freezing the rest for later use, Riggan said.

“This will really help push-through,” he said, adding that some recipe cards will have uses for fresh and frozen cherries.