Six weeks after announcing a merger with another fruit company, Chelan Fresh has entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with Columbia Valley Fruit of Union Gap, Washington.
Under the agreement, Chelan fresh will be the exclusive marketer of Columbia Valley Fruit’s organic and conventional apples. The fruit will be marketed under the organic Cascade Crest label and the conventional Trout label.
Columbia Valley Fruit, one of the first organic apple farms in Washington, has nearly 30 years of experience growing organic fruit and is a state certified organic handler. The company also helps its farmers grow in accordance with the National Organic Program standards.
“Our growers are our top priority – whether it be providing support and guidance to produce great quality fruit, or making strategic moves to assure top returns for their efforts,” Orlin Knutson, partner and spokesperson for Columbia Valley Fruit, said in a statement. “We are confident that the market access achieved through this alliance with Chelan Fresh will provide our growers with exciting economic opportunities well into the future.”
Under the agreement, which goes into effect Sept. 1, partners Knutson, Mark and Tom Tudor, Chris Vizena and Bill Monson will retain ownership of Columbia Valley Fruit.
“Columbia Valley Fruit has a long history as one of Washington State’s premium organic fruit grower-packers. We are very excited to be working with the Columbia Valley family,” said Tom Riggan, CEO of Chelan Fresh, based in Chelan, Washington. “Our customers value the high-quality, strong varietal mix that Columbia Valley Fruit brings to the market.”
Chelan Fresh is one of the largest apple, cherry and pear suppliers in the world. Its suppliers include Gebbers Farms, Crane & Crane and Chelan Fruit Cooperative. In early May, the company announced it would join forces with Borton Fruit of Yakima, Washington—a move that increased the company’s marketing and sales portfolio by 47 percent, including organic offerings, early-season cherries, innovative plantings and new proprietary apple varieties.