Stemilt to celebrate 10th anniversary of A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries
The 2022 cherry season will bring the 10th year anniversary of fourth-generation cherry grower Kyle Mathison’s A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries. Mathison and Stemilt Marketing Director Brianna Shales said Stemilt will celebrate the milestone while looking forward to the next decade of high-elevation Moon cherries.
“We’ve been lucky enough for the last 10 years to continue creating lasting memories within our consumers through A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries,” said Mathison. “I’m hoping this cherry season optimizes size, flavor, and aromatics for the 10th year anniversary of this late-season variety.”
A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries are grown at elevations 2,640 feet above sea level and higher and are the grand finale to every cherry season. This year, Stemilt will celebrate the 10-year legacy of its highest elevation cherries that extend the season in Washington state. Mathison has been growing cherries on Stemilt Hill since 1969 and his unique perspective of cherry growing earned him the title of Cherry King in 2008 and was the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Grower of the Year in 2013.
“I’m not farming for cherries; I’m farming for experiences,” said Mathison. “I hope everyone who eats A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries will remember them fondly with a smile on their face in the next decade. Some people see cherry picking as picking dollars off of trees, but to me, it’s an art.”
Between battling harsh weather conditions that come with high-altitude growing and working hard to optimize cherry Brix (sugar) and firmness through compost and more, growing Moon cherries has been no easy feat.
“I’m not successful because of what I do, but for how hard I try because mother nature controls everything that determines the success of a cherry crop,” said Mathison. “You have to realize that mother nature has the wheel on this vehicle known as cherry growing and you’re along for the ride.”
A part of being a World Famous cherry grower means putting the consumer eating experience first. Taking a bite of A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries is supposed to taste like no other cherry you’ve tasted before, perhaps like taking a first step on the moon.
“During the month of August, Stemilt will utilize its social platforms to engage in the celebration of Moon cherries with consumers in key cherry markets across the U.S. and our social followers,” said Shales. “When Moon cherries hit the stores, a social media engagement challenge will utilize influencers to encourage shoppers to see how long a bag of Moon cherries lasts in their household coupled with digital marketing tactics, media, and influencer buzz to put the spotlight on this cherry.”
As the late-season cherries return this August, a playful consumer marketing campaign will connect cherry lovers with Mathison, who will serve as their guide through a decade of delicious Moon cherries. He will ramp up the campaign with anticipatory posts and Instagram Reel videos as he and the team prepare for harvest followed by an unforgettable social media takeover.
“I don’t feel like I can rest on my morals while we are on this journey,” said Mathison. “In the next 10 years, we will continue to keep fuel in the tank, air in the tires, and keep that cherry growing vehicle going to do our part in growing World Famous A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries.”