Virginia agribusiness export deals announced
New export agreements for Virginia agricultural and food products have been announced as the result of a two-day trade and tourism mission to Canada, the governor’s office said Thursday.
Three Virginia specialty food producers now have deals with Canadian distributors, while talks are continuing on possible export agreements for seafood, wine and craft beer, according to the announcement. Canada is the second largest export market for Virginia agricultural and forestry products.
The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg now has a trade deal with Kasseler Food Products Inc., an Canadian importer and distributor that supplies to major retailers, specialty shops, drugstores, convenience stores and gift-basket companies.
Peanut Shop products are now available at retailers such as Winners, Homesense and TJ Maxx in Canada. The Williamsburg company produces flavored peanuts, chocolate, brittle, cakes and pet treats.
Another company, Charlottesville-based Bone Doctors’ Barbeque Sauce, also has a distribution deal with Kasseler. Bone Doctors’ Barbeque, founded by two orthopedic surgeons, produces a gourmet line of sauces and spices.
Also based in Charlottesville is specialty food manufacturer Montebello Kitchens, which has a deal with Canadian food distributor National Importers. It serves big-box stores and drugstores. Montebello’s products include chia dressings, gourmet ketchups, peanut soup and peanut butter powder.
The dollar values of the export agreements were not announced. The deals were arranged with the help of the international marketing staff at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and Virginia's Toronto-based agricultural trade representative, Argyle Communications.
During the mission, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and staff from VDACS and Argyle met with representatives from seafood importing companies and with the alcohol regulatory bodies in Quebec and Ontario to discuss export opportunities for Virginia seafood, wine and craft beer.
Virginia international marketing staff are expected to facilitate continued talks between the Canadian entities and state agribusinesses in hopes of reaching new export deals for these products.
Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $3.35 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 14 percent from 2013.
Canada was the destination $279 million in Virginia's agriculture and forestry exports in 2014, a 7 percent increase over the 2013 level.