Two longtime Washington state fruit companies will join forces when Chelan Fresh merges with Borton Fruit this summer.
The combined marketing company will retain the Chelan Fresh name and operate from both Chelan and Yakima. The venture will officially begin on Sept. 1, but preparations for the merger are already underway.
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.
Borton Fruit has a history of diverse production and innovation. The addition of Borton Fruit increases Chelan Fresh’s marketing and sales portfolio by 47 percent, including organic offerings, early-season cherries, innovative plantings and new proprietary apple varieties.
Chelan Fresh will market most of the new fruit under the Trout label. The addition marks the largest brand expansion since the label was first marketed in 1923.
“Customers want a one-stop-buying experience and shoppers want a wide selection of high-quality apples, pears and cherries all year long,” said Tom Riggan, CEO of Chelan Fresh. “With the increase in volume and varieties, we can support any size program 12 months out of the year.”
The combined company will have more than 13,000 acres of modern, high-density, trellised orchards, and be one of the industry leaders in production of Honeycrisp apples.