When cherry harvest in full swing, so should be the orchard tours. This year is no exception, with the National Cherry Festival as this year’s back drop. The timing was perfect for this year’s “Blogger Tour”. Social Media is hot and technology has created new opportunities to tell the cherry story.
Weber Shandwick and the Cherry Team in Chicago have done a terrific job in not only seeing the opportunity, but actually developing a strategy to get our story out. Consumers today are the holy grail. Getting to them in a way that holds their attention and engages them is no small feat. Especially younger consumers today who are not reading newspapers or watching the nightly news, but are instead relying totally on the Web and their favorite blogs. Ag, too, is complicated and it is harder to visit a farm and talk directly to a farmer. They all have busy lives—especially during harvest—and so, to close that loop, we held our second Blogger Tour and invited people from across the country.
The immersion in the cherry industry started with the science and why cherries are unique and different from other superfruit. Dr. Wendy Brazilian was the lead on the science and presented a powerful story that highlighted this year’s Powered by Red Campaign. To capture what people learned this year, it might be easiest to hear directly from one of the participants, Matt Armendariz, founder and author of MattBites.com. His tour highlights are at http://mattbites.com/2010/07/12/cherries-a-few-days-in-traverse-city-michigan/ check it out.
Participants learned that you don’t need to go to the Amazon to get the hottest new superfruit. It is grown right hear in our backyard by America’s farmers.
Special thanks to Bob Southerland at Cherry Republic, Don Gregory at Cherry Bay Orchards, Dr. Nikki Rothwell at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station and the National Cherry Festival staff. You all made this a memorable year for our guests. Thank You!