Back in 2002, Global Fruit was established to support BC cherry growers in marketing their cherries to markets around the world. Since then, the company as well as the growers and packers it represents, have grown exponentially. “This year, Global Fruit is proud to be working with six packing houses and 25 growers who have a combined area of more than 1000 acres of cherries in production,” said Richard Isaacs, Commercial Director with Global Fruit. “Despite a very tough 2019 season, where the rain caused severe losses for many in the BC cherry industry, the packing houses that Global Fruit works with all followed through on the investments they had planned.”
New Cherry Vision 3 line at Northern Cherries. Right: Richard Isaacs proudly shows BC cherries.
Combined hourly capacity of 46 tons
“Investments in orchards and the latest packing lines and equipment have always been the key feature of this select group.” As the new cherry season kicks off, Isaacs would like to congratulate the six packing houses who now together have 72 lanes of Unitec Cherry Vision 3 optical grading, including the latest automated box fillers, and two brand new clamshell packing machines.” This gives the Global Fruit group a packaging capacity of 46 tons per hour into all packaging formats. “Congratulations to H&R Orchards (formerly Creston Valley Cherry Growers), Northern Cherries, Inc., Okanagan Sunshine, Royal Fruit Company, Sandher Fruit Packers, and Sunny Valley Fruit,” he said.
The major new investments for this year have been at Northern Cherries, Inc. with a new 20-lane Cherry Vision 3 grader plus additional cold-storage and blow-down tunnels. Sunny Valley Farms and Okanagan Sunshine have both built completely new facilities, also equipped with Unitec grading lines and high specification cold storage. Isaacs would like to commend everyone involved for the huge effort getting their new facilities up and running in the face of considerable new challenges growers and packers are met with this year.
New 20-lane Cherry Vision 3 grader at Northern Cherries.
Global Fruit’s growers and packing houses cover a wide geographic area in British Columbia: from the south to the north of the Okanagan Valley, as well as in the Creston Valley area. Not only does this mean the company covers the entire season from the very first BC cherries harvested until the last, it also means they are able to provide their customers with a solid risk management strategy. “Rain can pop up anywhere during the summer as we saw last year, but it rarely affects all growing areas at the same moment,” commented Isaacs. “Additionally, any facility can suffer a breakdown or power outage causing a short-term disruption in packaging. However, other facilities will be able to continue covering our customers’ orders.”
The BC cherry season just got underway and although volumes are reduced due to weather events in winter and spring, Global Fruit is looking forward to a successful campaign, serving its loyal customers around the world. “Despite lower volumes, we still plan to ensure everyone gets that final great taste of summer,” Isaacs finished.