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CMI Orchards poised as Northwest cherry leaders after acquisition

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March 27th, 2024 WENATCHEE, WA—CMI Orchards BB #:134183 is poised to make waves this summer, adding significant volume and expanded seasonal availability to complement their expansive cherry portfolio.

Bob Mast, President of CMI, adds that the acquisition of Starr Ranch growers BB #:113637 back in November 2023 substantially bolstered CMI’s cherry supply with supply partners Custom Apple Packers BB #:113060 in Wenatchee WA, and Diamond Fruit Growers BB #:100652 in Hood River, OR.

“By welcoming Starr Ranch into the CMI family, we’re set to handle about 20% of all cherries grown in the Northwest,” says Mast. “This isn’t just a small step—it’s a giant leap that increases our cherry supply by 70% and expands the time we are able to be in the market. We’ll be able to start the season earlier and keep going later. This move positions us to become one of the strongest, most significant players in the cherry arena.”

Jim Thomas, owner of Starr Ranch growers, highlights the importance of the partnership. “This alliance brought together two distinguished companies to address market needs,” he states. “Retailers have been seeking earlier cherry availability and an extended season. By merging our strengths, we are now equipped to fulfill these requests, providing our customers with high-quality cherries throughout the entire Northwest cherry season.”

CMI’s impressive portfolio includes Red, Rainier, organic, Jumbo XXL®, Skylar Rae® and Strawberry cherries, and CMI’s flagship American Dream® program for merchandising around key patriotic holidays and summer promotions, Mast says. “We truly have a cherry for every shopper, every market and every demographic,” he added. “And now with our expanded seasonal availability, retailers can reap the rewards of cherry season for even longer.”

Joel Hewitt, CMI’s Vice President of Sales, shares that while it’s still a little too early to estimate the total production volume for Northwest cherries, the growing season is progressing nicely with minimal weather impacts to report.

“We had a few prolonged sub zero days at the tail end of winter which impacted bud development in some regions, but the extent to which this impacted the crop is not yet known. The warmer spring days we’re having could push harvest ahead by a couple of days–time will tell,” he says. “We’re hopeful for a stellar season ahead and encourage retailers to work with us on summer cherry plans well ahead of time–especially for American Dream July 4 promotions. Cherry season will be here before we know it!”

Hewitt shared that the Starr alliance added an additional cherry packing facility to the CMI family. “Having four advanced cherry packing operations means we can be more nimble and responsive to the needs of our customers, allowing us to run specialty packs and varieties in addition to our regular Red and Rainier cherry volume.”

With the largest selection of specialty cherries available in the U.S.A, being nimble is of high importance to their business, he added, sharing the technology used ensures only the highest quality cherries leave our warehouses. “Hydro-cooling, tunnel cooling, next generation optical sorting, robotic palletizers, automated packing lines–our owners have invested in the latest technology to help us deliver the very best quality we can,” Hewitt added. “This commitment to excellence is what sets CMI apart and allows our delicious Northwest cherries to shine on the produce shelf.”

CMI’s cherry season is expected to start sometime towards late May or early June. For more information, visit www.cmicherries.com

About CMI Orchards

CMI Orchards is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest growers, shippers and packers of premium quality conventional and organic apples, pears, and cherries. Based in Wenatchee, WA, CMI Orchards delivers outstanding fruit across the U.S.A. and exports to over 60 countries worldwide.

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