The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has selected Graceland Fruit, Inc. of Frankfort, MI, as the "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year." The company was recently honored with a presentation of the Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year award by Governor Snyder to Graceland Fruit's CEO Al DeVore. Graceland proactively works to identify its top export markets and make changes to products to meet their export customers' needs.
Graceland saw an increase of over 40% in its export business in 2011. The company manufactures and exports a wide variety of dried fruits including tart cherries, cranberries, apples and blueberries. Graceland began exporting in 1995 and has experience exporting to 42 countries. While historically selling into the commercial food industry, Graceland recently expanded its sales and marketing to home shoppers and retailers.
Graceland participated in the Governor's trade mission to Japan in the fall of 2011. During the mission Graceland emphasized its focus on bringing functional, healthier foods to market.
"Graceland Fruit's focus on quality and innovative products has leveraged their expansion into new markets and significantly increased their export sales growth," says Keith Creagh, MDARD director. "We applaud Graceland for industry leadership and the key role it is playing to grow and diversify our state's economy."