“They’re looking to buy what they can’t get locally — big, dark cherries,” he said.
Flavor Tree’s direct shipments to China last season were very successful, Cameron said.
An emerging market for Grower Direct is India, Williams said. The company ex-ported a very small amount to the country last year, and expects to ship more in 2010, despite cold chain-related issues.
“I think it’s in its infancy,” he said.
Another market that could present more opportunities in 2010 for Grower Direct is Europe, Williams said.
Last year wasn’t a great year for European sales for the company because Spain had a big crop, he said. This year, however, weather has delayed the start of the Spanish deal, opening the door for California just as it gets underway.
“I think there’s a good two-to-three-week window, especially in the U.K.,” in the first two weeks of May, Williams said.
Cameron said his company expected to move a lot more product in Europe this season because of that window.
In 2009, Kingsburg, Calif.-based Valhalla Sales & Marketing Co. had a very small export cherry deal, said Steve Nelsen, managing partner.
With a big crop expected in 2010, exports could be a more attractive channel for grower-shippers, he said.
Korea and Hong Kong are traditional export markets for Valhalla, Nelsen said. A brand new market for the company is India, he said. Valhalla ships all of its export cherries by air.