By Murray Wise Capital LLC
OXNARD, Calif. — Superior Fruit LLC has entered into an agreement with Eclipse Berry Farms LLC, advised by Murray Wise Capital LLC, to assume certain agricultural leases to expand its California strawberry growing operations. Superior has been formed by Bobby Jones and his brother RC Jones, long-term California growers, and will begin farming operations in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Castroville, California.
Founded in the early 1990’s by Norman Gilfenbain and Robert Wiviott, Eclipse Berry Farms is one of the largest vertically integrated grower, packer, shipper, marketer and processors of fresh-picked strawberries. Mr. Gilfenbain, who managed the day to day business of the Company until his death in 2013, started marketing produce under Eclipse’s Cal Fruit label in 1963. Mr. Wiviott then succeeded Gilfenbain as the CEO of the Company until he passed away in January of this year.
According to Rudy Garza, President & CFO of Eclipse Berry Farms, “This transaction with Superior Fruit is the first step towards an orderly downsizing of the Company’s operations. The management and employees of Eclipse look forward to working closely with Bobby and his team to ensure a smooth transition of these leases. At this time, Eclipse will continue growing, marketing and selling berries from Santa Maria, Castroville and Mexico and processing and marketing fruit from its Oxnard and Castroville facilities.”
Eclipse Berry Farms was advised on this transaction by Robert Marcus Esq., Chief Restructuring Officer for the Eclipse Berry Farms and Murray Wise Capital LLC as exclusive financial advisor.