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Gabrielle Easter

BY GABRIELLE EASTER

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Stemilt kicks off NW cherry imports to China

A joint effort by Lantao and Stemilt brings this season's first shipments of Bing cherries from Washington State to Guangzhou by air

Stemilt kicks off NW cherry imports to China

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This season's first shipments of Bing cherries from Washington State arrived in mainland China on 14 June, kicking off imports of US northwest cherries into China.

Wenatchee-based cherry grower Stemilt and Shanghai-based fruit importer Lantao have teamed up to be the first to market Bing cherries in China after a disappointing California season failed to meet consumer demand for premium cherries.

“Although Stemilt had the best California cherries in the Chinese market, the overall quality and volume from California this year has been inconsistent,” said chief executive of Lantao, John Wang, in a company release. “The poorer quality cherries brought the whole market down and now the market is really ready to step in and buy better quality fruit. Being first to market will allow us to fill that demand quickly.”

In contrast to a less-than-exemplary California cherry crop, Stemilt’s vice president of sales and marketing, Mike Taylor, foresees the NW cherry crop as one of the best on record.

“Growing conditions have lined up perfectly for us,” said Taylor. “Because the conditions are so favourable, 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.”

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