The Chilean cherry season has started for Fruit Growers Alliance, a partnership between Chilean cultivators Gesex and San Clemente. “Two weeks ago they started packing. It is currently still air freight, but this week, the first containers bound for Europe will depart. Because of that, the cherries will be ten days earlier than usual, and that is ideal, for the cherries will arrive here with plenty of time to spare before the holidays,” says Dirk Jan van Dijk.
San Clemente is especially strong in apples, and, additionally, they mostly supply early grapes and early cherries. Gesex is mostly strong in stone fruit, and focuses on late grapes, late cherries and citrus. Van Dijk mans the European sales office of Fruit Growers Alliance from Ridderkerk, the Netherlands. “We send about 5 or 6 containers to supermarkets in the UK, supplemented with about 3 or 4 containers for the rest of Europe.”
“Quality of the Chilean cherries is good, and except for some rain before harvesting, cultivation went smoothly. We are ready to supply European customers with cherries. All ingredients for a good season are present. The total Chilean cherry harvest is larger than last year, and in line with 2014. We started with the Brooks variety, and these will be followed by the other strains in the coming week,” Van Dijk continues.
“Just as in other years, China is the biggest buyer of prime cherries, and prices for Europe are quite high. I do expect prices will drop somewhat in the coming weeks,” says Van Dijk. “Despite good demand from China, it fits the long term strategy of Gesex and San Clemente to spread out marketing, and for this, Europe certainly plays an important role.”