Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced recently that over the past several months international marketing staff at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Virginia’s Toronto-based agricultural trade representative, Argyle Communications, have worked with several Virginia specialty food producers to achieve new international sales.
The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg, and Charlottesville-based Bone Doctors’ Barbecue Sauce and Montebello Kitchens will export products to Canada.
The trade deals represent new revenue streams from Virginia’s second-largest export market for farm and forestry products.
“This is great news and represents an opportunity for other Virginia food businesses,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
“Each year thousands of our northern neighbors travel to or through Virginia, where they are likely to eat and drink Virginia products. The greater presence and consumer awareness we have in foreign markets, the more opportunity there will be for all Virginia companies.”
Todd Haymore, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry, said more than 80 percent of the world’s consumer base lives outside of the United States, and every $1 in exports from Virginia generates about $1.30 within the state.
In addition to the new specialty food export deals, McAuliffe will continue efforts to increase exports of Virginia seafood, craft beer and wine to Canada.
Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $3.35 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 14 percent over 2013. The commonwealth exported more than $279 million in products to Canada last year.