Stemilt Growers Inc., is shipping the season’s first crop of cherries to China.
The venture between Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt and Lantao of Shanghai is the first to market the 2014 crop year bing cherries from Washington into mainland China, according to a news release.
The cherries arrived via air shipment on June 14 into the city of Guangzhou in southern China, according to the release.
“The overall quality and volume from California this year has been inconsistent,” John Wang, chief executive officer of Lantao, said in the release.
Rains greatly cut supplies of California fruit and led to some quality issues.
This year’s Washington cherry crop should be one of the best in recent history, Mike Taylor, Stemilt’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in the release.
“Growing conditions lined up perfectly for us,” Taylor said in the release. “Because the conditions are so favorable, we are shipping heavier in June than normally, and we will fill the demand that we were unable to fill from California.
“The quality and size from Washington will meet the premium fruit requirements that the Chinese market demands,” he said in the release.
Lantao is one of China’s largest importers of fruit and has seven facilities to distribute fruit.
Stemilt views China as one of the most important cherry export markets, according to the release.