Washington State: Chelan Fresh & Borton Fruit Merge

Washington State:  Chelan Fresh & Borton Fruit Merge

by Chelan Fresh

KoruChelan, Wash. – Chelan Fresh of Chelan, Wash., already one of the largest and most versatile apple, cherry and pear suppliers in the world, is merging with Borton Fruit of Yakima, Washington. The merger brings together two industry leading companies and 5 generations of farmers. Borton Fruit’s diverse production and innovative style joins the dynamic supplier base of Gebbers Farms, Crane & Crane and Chelan Fruit Cooperative in the marketing group. The addition of Borton Fruit brings an immediate 47 percent volume expansion to Chelan Fresh’s sales and marketing portfolio, including organic offerings, early-season cherries, innovative plantings and new proprietary apple varieties.

The partners in Chelan Fresh boast new and efficient production facilities and orchards. Together, the group has recently invested more than $235 million dollars in state-of-the-art packing facilities and technologies, new storage facilities, and production efficiencies. These investments, combined with more than 13,000 acres planted in young, high-density orchards with modern trellis systems, will drive innovation on a large scale. In addition, the group will become an industry leading producer of Honeycrisp apples.

Chelan Fresh will market the majority of the new fruit under the globally-recognized Trout label, which has long been associated with high-quality apples, pears and cherries. This marks the label’s largest brand expansion since the Trout label was first marketed in 1923. Chelan Fresh also markets the Cascade Crest Organic and the Chelan Fresh labels.

The combined marketing company will retain the Chelan Fresh name and operate from both Chelan and Yakima, Washington. Although the venture will officially begin on September 1, the sales and marketing teams are already working closely to bring immediate benefits to buyers.

Imported Koru Apples

Container shipments of New Zealand-grown Koru apples have started arriving at U.S. ports.

The Coast to Coast Growers Cooperative expects to receive 115,000-130,000 40-pound bushel equivalents of Koru throughout the import season — an increase of about 50% from 2016 — with shipments arriving weekly through the month of June.

The first shipments have already sold, but retailers can inquire with Glenmont, N.Y.-based New York Apple Sales, Wenatchee, Wash.-based Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers and Yakima, Wash.-based Borton Fruit about future shipments. Those suppliers comprise the cooperative.