PHOTO: Jill and Peter Douglas show retail guests some freshly harvested peaches and nectarines.
As harvest of the region’s 13-million-plus-box cherry crop begins to wind down, peach and nectarine growers are just starting to pick up steam in their campaign to pick a soft fruit crop that will run through September this year.
In an effort to showcase the 2010 crop, the staff at the Washington State Fruit Commission hosted a group of retail executives from around the United States and Canada this week. The retail group consisted of directors of produce, head merchandisers and buyers that represent over 2,000 grocery stores. The fruit looked great and most importantly … tasted amazing. The group was able to visit orchards and packing houses from Pasco to Yakima. And, as always, principals and key sales and marketing personnel did a great job of showing our guests the industry passion for the tree fruit business.
Our 10 retailer guests were from the store groups of Associated Food Stores, The Produce People of Calgary Canada, Scolaris Food and Drug of Nevada, and Russ Davis Wholesale Markets of Minnesota. Packing facility visits included stops at Douglas Fruit (Jill and Peter Douglas are pictured above), Conrad Adams Fruit, Pride Packing, Valicoff Fruit, EW Brandt & Sons, and Gilbert Fruit.
Industry retail executive tours are designed to educated produce professionals as to the intricacies, challenges, and quality advantages that fruit from the Northwest production region can offer. Based on the fact that our guests placed several purchase orders on the spot, it is safe to say that this type of grower effort has its advantages.