Letters from the Field
Russell Comport from India
In March 2012, the US Apple Export Council organized a trip for American apple shippers to visit India.
I was lucky enough to be able to join this trip and we spent over a week visiting and learning about the markets in New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. We visited supermarkets and open-air fruit markets as well as many importers. We had many interesting discussions about the unique needs of Indian retailers – it was an eye-opening trip.
India has a very different culture than the United States. The buyers we met are moving rapidly to improve such factors as product quality, food safety and market promotions in their stores.
India is a long trip from the US, but it holds a very remarkable opportunity for Michigan apples. Our fruit can help meet the healthy eating demands of the rapidly-growing middle class, and we can find another market for apples, which are well-known in India.
Riveridge has shipped apples to India since 2009, and has also shipped to markets in the Pacific Islands.
Dawn Geers from Honduras
What I love about the Latin American market is the people. They want to do more than talk prices and close deals.
When I’m meeting buyers from Latin America – whether in the US or in their countries – I get an opportunity to talk with them about their families, their children, the history of their businesses and cities. I learn so much about their cultures this way!
We return the hospitality when these buyers visit the US, and especially like showing them our orchards during harvest. Most of our workers are Latin American and Mexican, and they really enjoy meeting visiting buyers.
Riveridge sells to apple importers in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and others throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Don Armock from Russia
In May 2008, I spent a week exploring the fruit market and distribution system in Russia as part of a tour hosted by the US Apple Export Council. I was impressed by the history, culture and vast size of Russia – and the way development is rapidly changing its food business.
The previous year, 2007, we’d sold our first shipment to Russia – very large Michigan apples, which are desired by the Russian consumer. Months later, I heard from some tourists that they had seen Riveridge apples in Outer Mongolia where they had traveled for a special festival.
You never quite know where wholesale product will end up!
Russia is one piece of the export picture for Riveridge, yet its unique fruit purchasing profile complements other aspects of our business. We will continue to travel to new and emerging markets to discover opportunities for Michigan apples.
Riveridge has exported to Russia since 2010, and we ship to many other destinations in Europe and the Middle East, as well.