Chukar Cherries Celebrates 20 Years of Gourmet Gift Manufacturing

Seattle, WA, March 26, 2008 --( Chukar Cherry Company, the Year ‘Round Cherry and Berry Company™ celebrates twenty years of producing the Best of Nature, Best of Chocolate® utilizing the fruitful bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Fresh and unique Chukar® brand products have become signature food gifts for locals and visitors stopping by Pike Place Market in Seattle or traveling inland through Washington’s Wine Country.

Partnerships with local growers and a commitment to small batch production utilizing ‘just in time’ manufacturing practices has made the specialty food company a success, and founder Pamela Montgomery, a.k.a. Ma Chukar, a beaming entrepreneur. “My vision from the very beginning was to create food gifts that utilized the natural flavors and local bounty of our fruit producing region,” said Pam.

Chukar Cherry Company began when Pamela and her young family saw potential to add value to the Northwest’s premier fresh cherry crop after moving from Seattle in the late 1980’s and purchasing a 100 acre cherry orchard. After fresh cherry harvest, Pam noticed an abundance of ripe cherries left on the trees and began to dehydrate the cherries in her kitchen with a focus on ‘all natural.’ The tender dried fruit was a hit with friends and family and soon, the first Chukar® brand product was launched straight from the family orchard; 100% naturally dried Bing cherries without added sugar or sulfites.

A trip to Europe inspired Pam to pair the naturally dried cherries with fine chocolate; a European confectionery classic which combines premium chocolate with choice dried fruit centers. The chocolate-covered confections were unique in the marketplace and the tag line Best of Nature. Best of Chocolate® was created. Most people think of “maraschino cherries with sugary syrup when they are asked to try our chocolates and are delighted when they find natural, pure flavors awaiting them” says Pam.

Chukar Cherries at Pike Market, the company-owned retail store located in the main arcade of Seattle’s popular Pike Place Market has solidified Chukar’s standing as the premier food gift for tourists and locals. A ‘must stop’ 3 hours inland on I-82 is Chukar Cherries in Wine Country, the company’s Corporate, Retail, and Manufacturing Headquarters, located at 320 Wine Country Road in Prosser, Washington. There, the Chukar Team dries thousands of pounds of fresh Bing and Rainier Cherries in June and July of each year with large air tunnels and a classic drying method. “When you order a gift from Chukar Cherries, you can be sure it is fresh and made with local ingredients. We do not make our products months ahead and store them in freezers or make large batches – its small batch blending and fresh shipments,” says Pam.

Over the years, Chukar Cherries has developed a mail order product catalog and jumped into cyber space at complimented by topical e-newsletters and savory recipes. In addition, Chukar® enjoys support from select retailers such as REI, Made in Washington Stores, Whole Foods Markets, Williams Sonoma and more.

President of the Washington State Cherry Commission, B.J. Thurlby states; “The entire cherry industry benefits from Chukar Cherries’ efforts.” And as Pam and the Chukar Team celebrate their 20th Anniversary, they have added a new shipping warehouse to their existing manufacturing center.

And what does Ma Chukar see in the future for Chukar Cherries? “Chukar® is a brand synonymous with the bounty and strength of the Pacific Northwest and will be the premier food gift typifying our region.”

Chukar Cherries
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