FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCT. 29, 2012
||Peter Thornton, assistant director for international marketing
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
Chinese horticulture trade team visits Western N.C.
RALEIGH — Playing host to a visiting Chinese trade delegation last week could lead to exports for some Western North Carolina nurseries.
The horticulture group made stops in Yancey, McDowell, Buncombe, Catawba and Burke counties as part of an inbound trade mission to North Carolina and West Virginia. The six-person team included landscape architects and horticulture buyers from Beijing and a reporter for China Flower and Garden News.
The visits, which took place Oct. 24-27, were sponsored by the Southern United States Trade Association. International marketing staff with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services helped coordinate the North Carolina stops.
“This is the second visit to the region by a Chinese horticulture team in just over a year, which is encouraging for our nursery industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The delegation looked at this trip as an important step toward diversifying their U.S. purchases by adding East Coast nurseries to their supplier base.”
The team visited Carolina Native Nursery in Burnsville, Benfield Nursery in Marion, Biltmore Estate and Gardens in Asheville, Hawks Ridge Nursery in Hickory and Fitzgerald Nursery in Morganton.
Peter Thornton, the department’s assistant director for international marketing, said the Chinese team indicated it would make purchases totaling about $200,000 from N.C. nurseries in the next six months.
Thornton said that Dr. Thomas Ranney, an N.C. State University horticulture professor based in Mills River, was invaluable in providing the Chinese team with information about the region’s nurseries that will help guide future purchases.