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The Vanguard International Group of Issaquah, Washington, has purchased Pride Packing Co. of Wapato, Washington, to further its goal of developing a vertically integrated fresh-fruit organization.

Pride packing was founded in 1972 by Ernest Spada Sr. and was one of the first companies to adopt the two-leader growing and pruning technique, according to a news release.

Vanguard logo

Vanguard logo

Spada will continue as Pride’s chairman emeritus and Brett Calhoun will continue as general manager and vice president of farming operations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Pride to Vanguard and to continue our working relationship with this industry leader,” Vanguard CEO Craig Stauffer said. “We are proud to be associated with the Spada family, United Salad Co., and Pride, and we look forward to increasing our footprint in Washington to enhance our ability to supply our customers around the world.”

Pride is a vertically integrated 3,000-acre farming operation with packing and cold-storage facilities, producing apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines.