Vanguard International has been involved in the sales and marketing of cherries in both the northern and southern hemispheres since their beginning in 1991 so they were well aware of what a busy cherry season would bring with the highly desirable and highly perishable summer fruit. “Well every cherry season is very very busy,” laughs Craig Stauffer, CEO of Vanguard International when asked if it’s been a busy year.
“Luckily we knew what we were getting into as it was our first season owning our own cherry production. Harvesting our own production, packing our own production and marketing and selling our own production certainly brought all of those functions and activities into sharp focus.” “When those cherries are ready to be harvested, you harvest them. The goal is to have them picked, cooled, packed and shipped within 24 hours and they never slow down,” continues Stauffer. “They peak in volumes but they never stop coming. While certainly not our first rodeo in understanding the intensity and highly sensitive nature of the crop, this was our first season to be a cherry grower. Our goal was to obviously be the best cherry grower we could be and also continue to support all the fantastic cherry grower partners who have been with us since 1991. Those are important relationships that we really value.”
Cherries are a highly sensitive fruit. The perishability of cherries drives the need to be extra careful during farming, harvesting, packing, cooling and getting the fruit shipped with best in class cold chain management logistics and operation support to meet retailers and customer’s needs and requirements.
Cherries are such a highly desired commodity within the marketplace because where many fruits are available 12 months a year, cherries are not always available globally. This causes a cherry season, highly anticipated and intensely acknowledged by retailers and shoppers. In the Unites States cherries return the highest profits per square inch of the grocery store floor. With the high velocity of sales, it’s fast and furious on every level of the supply chain.
Most cherries come from Western Canada, Washington and Oregon, California and Chile and Vanguard has a long history of successful marketing and selling of grapes in these regions. While rich and tasty with their firm flesh, cherries are also full of health benefits including helping with sleep and protecting against diabetes, according to Care2.