Designation opens new market to West Slope fruit growers

Mesa County as well as Delta and Montrose counties have received pest-free status from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, enabling growers in the three counties to ship fruit to that state without a cold storage quarantine requirement.

“Thanks to the expertise, tenacity and collaboration of many committed partners, a new market has been opened to Western Slope fruit growers that had been closed for many years,” said Cheryl Smith, an export certification specialist with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

A five-year pest trapping program demonstrated the three counties are free of apple maggot and plum curculio pests. The program was a collaborative effort of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey and Colorado State University Extension in Mesa County as well as Black Bear Orchard and Taylor Farms.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture offers assistance to fruit growers interested in exploring opportunities to sell products in other states and countries. The plants division researches requirements about pest quarantines. The market divisions offers assistance in connecting with prospective buyers as well as size and grade inspections and food safety verification audits.

For more information, log on to the website at https://www.colorado.gov/ag.