In a rare acquisition reaching across apple country, FirstFruits Farms of Washington announced this week that it acquired Applewood Orchards and sales company Applewood Fresh Growers of Michigan.
The partnership enhances FirstFruits’ ability to serve customers in the Midwest and on the East Coast with supply chain and logistics efficiencies, according to the news release the company sent this week. The move will also give Applewood Orchards the opportunity to grow Opal apples, FirstFruits’ proprietary brand.
“This acquisition aligns perfectly with our mission to provide top-tier produce and service to our customers while embracing innovation and growth opportunities,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, vice president of FirstFruits Marketing, in a statement.
FirstFruits farms over 8,000 acres of apples, cherries and pears in South Central Washington. The company was created in 2019 when the Broetje family sold their orchard business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Applewood Orchards, located in Deerfield in Southeast Michigan, was founded by the Swindeman family in 1935. Today their business includes over 400 acres of orchards and packing houses in both Deerfield and Sparta.
“Our family’s commitment over the years to innovative growing methods, sustainability and community aligns seamlessly with the values at FirstFruits Farms,” Scott Swindeman of Applewood Fresh Growers said in the release. “This is a great match, which strengthens both companies.”
—by Kate Prengaman