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Jon Clark - Total Cherry

"Very optimistic about South American cherry season"

The cherry market is fairly low key at the moment according to Jon Clark from Total Cherry. "There is a little very early South African fruit from the Free State region, this is typically small fruit due to the area where it is grown. But it is nice and sweet and the only thing on the market just now."

"Chile and Argentina will be starting in the next day or so, a week earlier than normal with the early varieties such as Brooks and Royal Dawn. They are just at the point of picking now, there will not be huge volumes for another ten days or so, around the first few days of November we will start to see bigger volumes and more varieties." He goes on the say that everything is air freight which means it is expensive at the moment and will remain so until Christmas.

This season again there has been frost in Chile, but as Clark explains, the growers will not be too concerned, "There have been large plantings over the last five years and two years of low volumes. Last year volumes were halved due to frost and the year before torrential rain at the height of the season had a huge effect on volumes. On paper volumes could have been double this year compared to the last two seasons with normal growing conditions and young trees coming into production, but due to some frost it will be around 10-20% less than that, but still well up on last year."

The reports from Chile and Argentina are that the fruit looks great and growers are looking forward to a good season.

"It remains to be seen how this will impact the Asian market though, as Chile have exported big volumes of fruit to China in the last two years. China has been taking European sizes of fruit, 24-26mm, because that was all that was available, normally they want bigger fruit. They will probably go back to bigger fruit this year though," said Clark. It will be interesting to see how much will be shipped to China in a normal year, Clark reckons that when it gets to 10-12 million cartons the market will be saturated, subject to when the new year falls.

The volumes to China should not affect the UK market too much as it tends to want the middle to smaller sizes as opposed to the larger fruit for Asia.

"All in all it is looking like a promising year for South American cherries, we are very optimistic about the coming season," concludes Clark.

For more information:
Jon Clark
Total Cherry
Tel: 0044 1775 7171800044 1775 717180

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