US Tradeshow Opens Doors for BC Cherries

We recently caught up with Sutherland S.A. Produce on the heels of their 2019 trade mission to the US. Thanks to Market Development funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Kelowna-based grower and packer just completed a successful circuit of the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit (PMA) in Anaheim, California.

For director of sales Rick Chong, the PMA offers the perfect venue for promoting BC tree fruits and berries on behalf of the nearly 200 growers Sutherland represents.

“It’s one of our biggest tradeshows with 40-50 thousand attendees, including important buyers and all the major growers in North America,” he explains. “It offers a significant networking opportunity while helping you keep costs down by meeting everyone in one place.”

Not only did the PMA enable Sutherland to enter negotiations with Wal-Mart, but it also encouraged an existing partnership that is helping to open new markets for BC cherry growers.

According to Rick, California-based Blanc Vineyards recently won the exclusive NBA world-wide marketing rights for fresh grapes and cherries, the latter to be provided by Sutherland!

“This will allow us to package and market BC cherries with the NBA label,” he explains. “Not only would BC cherries get sold across the US, but the NBA also has a four-billion-dollar market in China and large markets in Europe, Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

While the US is typically one of Sutherland’s smallest export markets, Rick believes the inroads they’ve made this year will mean significantly more opportunities for BC growers.

With several previous government-funded export initiatives under their belt, the entire Sutherland team understands how critical support is for increasing Canadian brand recognition around the globe.

“The project funding we have received has been an immense contribution to our business development in export markets – we could not afford to attend many of these shows and pursue these opportunities without some financial assistance,” says Rick.

Funding support provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. (MD019)

West Kootenay Schools Abuzz With Observation Hives

The Bee Awareness Society is thrilled to offer a “live learning tool” to local schools in the West Kootenays. Using observation bee hives, the Society teaches students about the vital role that honeybees and other pollinators play in food production.

“There are fewer honeybees, bee species and other pollinators available for pollination,” project coordinator Linda Martin explains. “We knew we needed to expand our education and outreach efforts.”

With funding through the Bee BC Program to conduct their Bee Awareness School Education project, the Society teamed up with the Mount Sentinel Secondary Woodworking Shop to build ten glass observation bee hives which will now be used to provide the learning module at new schools.

According to Linda, she could not have asked for more willing volunteers.

“Our project was very successful, the students of Mount Sentinel woodworking shop were very knowledgeable, eager and hard working to complete the construction and finishing of the bee hives,” she reports.

To date the Society has educated approximately 2,000 children about the plight of the honeybees and other pollinators, including what children and their families can do in their own backyards and community to mitigate the risks posed towards pollinators.

While there tends to be tremendous enthusiasm and support within the community, Linda is grateful that provincial funding has allowed them to enhance their outreach efforts.

“Initiatives like the Bee BC Program are instrumental for helping us co-create a healthy and sustainable environment for bees, other pollinators and mankind,” she asserts.

Funding: $5,000 through the BC Government’s Bee BC Program. (BEE017)