Hey, it’s harvest time, so we thought we’d root through the rutabagas someone dropped on our desk to glean a few items from the agri-biz file:
Stemilt plucks grocer award
Wenatchee-based Stemilt Growers, one of the world’s largest fruit companies, has a nifty product-management program called FruitTracker. See?
And FruitTracker does all kinds of cool stuff like gather up grocery sales data, analyze it, crunch numbers and, yes, track consumer trends related to apples, pears and cherries. See?
Well, FruitTracker has been hailed as a real game-changer for both Stemilt and the grocers that partner with them. They use the program to follow fruit (tree to tabletop) and track what sells and in what quantities. See?
FruitTracker is so good, in fact, that the industry trade journal Progressive Grocer has presented Stemilt with a food-tech award that’s a real mouthful — the 2013 Category Advisor in the Perimeter-Variable/Fixed-Weight Produce Category. See?
Well, we thought you might NOT see, so we chatted with Stemilt spokeswoman Brianna Shales about what the heck all that means.
In brief, the award is the grocery industry’s way of saying thanks to Stemilt for helping boost sales of fruit and produce, which in grocer-talk are “perimeter” products — items in a store’s layout on the outside aisles that might include the deli, meat and seafood, milk and cheese, fruit and produce. See?
Sure, we see. But does FruitTracker know this article’s making us hungry?
Farmers Market harvests higher sales
Vendors at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market aren’t just growing veggies. They’re growing revenues, too.
Penny Bickford, president of the Farmers Market, told the board of Pybus Public Market last week that this year’s Farmers Market sales had grown by 16 percent over those in 2012.
She said the jump in sales could be attributed to several factors:
This was the Farmers Market’s first year in their new home at the bustling Pybus facility.
Vendors have gotten more savvy on what products to sell and how to market them.
And market stalls added a new point-of-sale system that allowed customers to pay with credit, debit and EBT cards.
“One vendor, who sold a craft item priced at over $100, may have lost that sale if not for the point-of-sale system,” she said.
The card-reader devices were a requirement of a federal HUD grant that helped finance the Pybus Market project.
Tiny’s goes big with Amazon Fresh
Got some veggie-lovin’ friends on the west side? Then take note.
Tiny’s Organic, the cutting-edge farm in East Wenatchee, will continue this winter and spring to sell boxes of fruit and produce through Amazon Fresh — the direct-to-your-door service of the online mega-vendor based in Seattle. The service kicks in on Nov. 6.
West-siders can place an online order, set a time for delivery and then sit back and wait for their box of lemons, avocados, carrots, onions, potatoes, chard and other produce to arrive at their doorstep. Tiny’s works with organic farms down in California and Texas to fill these mid-winter orders.
“We started this service in a limited way last year and had great success,” said Mia Brisbine, wholesale manager at Tiny’s. “It’s definitely something we want to do again this winter.”
If you’ve read this far, you’ve noticed there’s no mention of Amazon Fresh deliveries to Wenatchee Valley residents. At this time, the service is available only in Seattle and Los Angeles.
Tiny’s sells boxes of goodies year-round in the Seattle area. In season, the farm has from 1,500 to 2,000 subscribers to their CSA (community supported agriculture) program, which provides weekly boxes of veggies and fruits from regional growers.
Need more info? Give Brisbine a call at (206) 293-0633 or visit tinysorganic.com.
This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.