“I’ve been trying to push away the focus on red delicious, even though that’s the bread and butter. Washington state did a heck of a job branding the red delicious, but others who know apples know there’s better tasting ones out there.”
GIC Group, which also represents table grapes, pears and walnuts, likes to crack open hard-to-reach markets.
“We specialize in that,” Williams said. “It’s good for the grower if you can, because you can build a relationship. Turkey Knob takes a long term view of our international customers. They don’t just pack up any old fruit and put it on a boat. You can build a brand loyalty that lasts many years.”
Prices paid by such clients compete well with domestic prices, Gilmore said.
CORRECTED: The companies' idea to build an export business with Cuba developed after Hurricane Michelle in 2001. The original article referred to a different hurricane.