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Cherries bring out the best in Starr Ranch Growers

By
Adam Campbell

Northwest Cherry shippers are ramping up for the season. “We survived the frost season with only minimal damage,” said Krista Beckstead, brand manager for Starr Ranch Growers, who reported that the crop is shaping up to be a good one, “We’ll rebound from last year’s short crop well and should have our typical availability to work with our retail partners.”

Starr Ranch harvests early cherries out of their orchards in Mattawa, WA and should have solid volumes daily by June 6 or June 9. They generally wrap up their season at the end of July with cherries from their Odell, OR orchards.

 “With COVID-19, we’ve got several digital promotions in place that will replace more historical means of promotion,” said Beckstead. “We’ve got some fantastic new display options as well for our retailers.” From a social media perspective, the company will be hosting sweepstakes throughout cherry season to help build consumer awareness and engagement as well.

Beckstead said they’d pack down to 12 row to start the season and as the deal progressed further into the season they’ll likely only pack down to about 11 row. “The season will really dictate how small we pack down to,” she said. “The newest opportunity we have is our recyclable pouch bag that we will be transitioning into this cherry season.” Next cherry season it will be fully integrated and all Starr Ranch’s pouch bags will be recyclable.

The company touts its passion for sustainable farming, shipping, and packaging practices as a way to keep their orchards plentiful for generations to come; incorporating eco-friendly pest management methods and non-invasive farming practices.

Starr Ranch’s new recyclable pouch bag aligns perfectly with these ideals. Made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, when the bag is recycled properly, it keeps non-biodegradable plastic out of landfills, helping the environment. Recycled HDPE plastics can be used to make a vast range of plastic products including pipes and children’s toys. Reportedly, it takes much less energy to create products from recycled plastics like HDPE than from new plastics, reducing the use of fossil fuels.

While the 2020 cherry season saw tighter supply, the 2021 cherries should be plentiful. “Last season was difficult from an availability perspective, but it helped shape opinions at retail in a promising way. We proved that we don’t have to discount cherries in the retail environment for them to sell well,” said Beckstead, who noted that consumers look forward to cherries every summer and will put them in their basket at a price that benefits the grower and the retailer. “It’s a fantastic summer fruit that is only available seasonally, build big displays and let the consumers enjoy them.”

 “Cherries always bring out the best in our team. It’s a brisk season that requires us all to be our best and most optimistic selves and that makes it fun,” said Beckstead in closing. “It’s difficult and trying but it’s a fun ride to be on with our Starr Ranch team.”

 

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