Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 446 News & Views Magazine EDITION 2, 2016 Although building relationships is important in growing any business, it’s perhaps no more important in creating, growing and maintaining an export business. Jim Zion, longtime managing partner for Meridian Growers based in Clovis, Calif., said exporting is very much relationship based, in part because of the customer’s distance. Meridian is a sales and marketing company – both domestically and internationally - for a group of California and Arizona growers and processors of nuts and dried fruits, including CLFP member the Horizon Nut Company. Nuts exported include almonds, pistachios and pecans. “You’re shipping hundreds of thou- sands of dollars of products,”Zion said.“And they (the customer) are counting on you to deliver the product they want. There is quite a bit of trust. Strong relationships are very much an important part of this business.” Zion said Meridian representatives visit their large international customers at least once, if not twice a year. In between these international visits, Meridian also video conferences with many of its customers. The opportunity for international buyers to meet the growers themselves also is important. “It’s important for people to understand each other’s business. Growers understand that they are part of the system,”Zion said. Such relationships between growers and customers have become increasingly important as food safety regulations tighten both in the U.S. and abroad. Zion said he has noticed an increase in food safety regulations particularly in China and the European Union. Sometimes customers are asking for requirements above and beyond their own country’s regulations. “You’re shipping hundreds of thousands of dollars of products. And they (the customer) are counting on you to deliver the product they want. There is quite a bit of trust. Strong relationships are very much an important part of this business.” Relationship Building By LISA JAGER - CLFP Marketing & Communications Director Meridian’s Managing Partner Jim Zion brings many years of experience of working in the international marketplace and the nut industry. Meridian is based in Clovis, Calif., with processing facility inTulare, Calif. Keyin Exporting