Vancouver, B.C.-based Oppy expects to wind down a strong Southern Hemisphere crop in March before switching to domestic production out of Stockton, Calif., said Jon Bailey, who leads the company’s cherry category.

California product marketed by Oppy will ship under the Katicich Ranch and Brookside labels this spring, thanks to a partnership that brought together the two top cherry brands to form Katco Packing.

Near the beginning of summer, Oppy expects to move its domestic deal to The Dalles, Ore., where it will ship under the Orchard View Cherries brand. Celebrating its 100-year anniversary, Orchard View is a 100% cherries program, Bailey said.

“Having an all-in cherry-only focus enables us to grow, ship and pack the best quality cherries. We get one shot at it a year, so we do everything to do ensure it’s done right. Also, over 90% of what we pack, we grow ourselves with total control over the entire production and harvest timing.”

Orchard View Cherries is also a female-owned and managed family business, Bailey said. The company’s president, Brenda Thomas “lives and breathes cherries,” he said. Thomas is the great-granddaughter descendant of Walter and Mabel Bailey, who established Orchard View in 1923.

Like other shippers and marketers, Oppy is looking forward to a strong bounce back from the light 2022 crop.

“Mother Nature gave the Pacific Northwest the shortest crop that it’s had in about a decade, so we’re really excited to be looking toward increased crop volume, with the potential to be doubled this year,” Bailey said. “We’re honored to have such close working relationships with our retail partners and look forward to navigating how to best move this year’s crop together after a challenging 2022.”

When it comes to packaging, Oppy markets cherries in 1, 2, 3 and 4-pound top seal options for its retail customers, along with high-graphic pouch bags.

Having the right pack is one key to successfully merchandising cherries at retail. Location is another, Bailey said.

“End aisle displays seem to work best as they have the best visibility for shoppers. In-store promotion is key as cherries are not typically on everyone’s shopping list and continue to be an impulse purchase — we hope that consumers continue see cherries as that truly seasonal item to treat themselves to when they see them at retail.”

In addition, while online grocery shopping has slowed down as the US has emerged from the pandemic, it’s still important for retailers to highlight when cherries are in-season and available on their digital platforms, Bailey said.

“Those consumers otherwise wouldn’t know like they would walking into brick and mortar.”