Executive director Chris Zanobini is pleased with the first year’s performance of the Sacramento, Calif.-based California Cherry Board.
The new organization came about following an industrywide vote last March to approve a new marketing order forming the California Cherry Marketing and Research Program.
The name has been simplified to the California Cherry Board.
“Our first year was great,” Zanobini said.
The new board differs significantly from the California Cherry Advisory Board, which it replaced, Zanobini said.
The board covers all cherry varieties, whereas the previous one included only four.
“Now the board encompasses all cherry growers — the entire industry in California,” Zanobini said.
The California Cherry Board focuses on production research, along with some post-harvest research, and also is involved in export programs and trade activities in export markets.
The board will not conduct domestic promotions.
Export activities focus on Japan and Korea as well as Australia and Canada. Canada and Japan are the industry’s largest export markets, he said.
The board also will try to “get good market intelligence out of China.”
China shows promise as an export destination for California cherries, Zanobini said, “but there are still a lot of unknowns there.”
Export programs will be different from what the board has done in the past.
“We’re working direct with the trade. We’re not using any in-country representation,” Zanobini said.
“We’re making sure the resources are being put directly to work to market the crop.”
Programs may vary from country to country, he said, and will depend on “our direct agreements with the actual customers in those countries.”
In the realm of research, the board will put a lot of emphasis on disease control by launching several projects in that field.
Topics like integrated pest management and studying the epidemiology of certain products and how it affects fruit diseases will be investigated, Zanobini said.
Post-harvest research will involve looking at early season estimation and analyzing fruit set.
The board also plans to test modified-atmosphere bags and conduct research into cherry storage, shipping and arrivals.
Reflecting on the board’s first year, Zanobini — and industry members — seem satisfied.
“The board got up and running, and we had good results from our export programs and trade policy activities,” Zanobini said.