In 1988, Pam Montgomery and her young family escaped the bustle of Seattle to north Prosser when they purchased the largest family-owned cherry orchard (100 acres) in Washington State. With 8,000 trees to harvest in a short two weeks, a bounty of leftover cherries was only expected. Day after day, Pam (with her three young daughters in tow) would walk the orchard after harvest season, picking and eating the leftover cherries slowly drying on the branches along their trek. Pam found tree-ripening enhanced the flavor and acted as a natural preservative. In no time, they began dehydrating Bing & Rainier cherries with no added ingredients.
Thirty-five years later Chukar Cherries has grown into a sustainable farm-to-table endeavor. Chukar’s product line blossomed from naturally dried & chocolate covered cherries to cherry & nut energy snacks, fruitful preserves & sauces, baked goods & granola, and now regional wine & chocolate pairings.
Chukar Cherries acts as a vertically integrated, multi-channel manufacturer with the majority of their revenue coming primarily from direct-to-consumer sales channels. While they do offer to ship their products throughout the U.S. most of their customer base is in the Pacific Northwest.
The company continues to focus on building their brand and fostering customer loyalty via direct sales channels, such as, their web store, mail-order catalogs, and the two company retail stores in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and Washington wine country adjacent to Chukar’s factory headquarters. They also sell via Amazon’s online marketplace. Historically, Chukar operated a wholesale division sans distribution and limited to specialty retailers and tourist locales. That said, Chukar is positioning for wholesale market growth utilizing targeted product development.
Pam pioneered dehydrating Northwest cherries without additives in the 1980’s. Despite their growth since then, the company remains committed to producing their products in small-batch style, retaining the freshness and quality that the brand has become synonymous with.