Exporting pomegranates is a large portion of the business, some growers say. The majority of pomegranate exports go to five main countries, said Tom Tjerandsen, manager of the Sonoma, Calif.-based Pomegranate Council. “Canada, Mexico, the Pacific Rim and the European Union, as well as emerging markets in South America, take the vast majority of our exports,” Tjerandsen said. Atomic Torosian, managing partner for Crown Jewels Produce, Fresno, Calif., said the company ships pomegranates to Australia, New Zealand and most Pacific Rim countries, as well as Canada. Pom Wonderful ships most of its pomegranates to domestic markets and Canada, although a fair percentage also goes oversees, said Marc Seguin, vice president of marketing for Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful. “All of those markets are growing,” he said. One of the council’s main areas of focus is to build the export market volume. The organization uses grants and other programs, such as Emerging Market Program support, to help provide funding to build awareness and sales for exported pomegranates. “The council has been at this for about 15 years or so now,” Tjerandsen said, and it’s seen some good success. Tjerandsen said he expects one half to one third of the total harvest will be exported this year. He said the council rotates its areas of focus, focusing on the United Kingdom and Canada one year, and then turning to South Korea and Taiwan the next year, for example. Exporting benefits Tjerandsen said pomegranates are especially suited for exports because of their physical properties. “Pomegranates are unique because they have that tough outer husk that protects the fruit and it doesn’t bruise, so it travels very well,” he said. Pomegranates also have few pest issues and can stay in a chilled container for a long distance, all positives for companies working to export their crop.
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