Gerawan Farming Inc. of Sanger, CA and Wawona Packing Co. LLC of Cutler, CA have completed a merger. Paine Schwartz, an existing investor in Wawona and a global leader in sustainable food chain investing, is partnering with both companies to facilitate the transaction. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Both Gerawan and Wawona are third-generation family businesses. Gerawan is a stone fruit industry pioneer with best-in-class farming, packing practices, and proprietary varieties marketed under the Prima brand. Wawona is a California-based supplier of high-quality stone fruit and a leader in the organic segment of the market. The merger builds upon the legacies and reputations of the two industry-leading companies and creates an enhanced platform for growth and innovation. The combined business will be able to better serve its customers and create significant opportunities for employees.
The combined company will be led by Dan Gerawan, who will be the largest individual shareholder and chief executive officer of the merged entity. Brent Smittcamp, current executive chairman of Wawona, will also remain a significant shareholder and continue to be highly involved with the combined company. The management team will be comprised of leaders from both companies.
Gerawan said, “At Gerawan, innovating on a large scale to grow, pack and ship the world’s best fruit has been key to our success, and those efforts have always hinged on investing in our employees.”
Smittcamp said, “Over the last several years, we have focused on accelerating Wawona’s growth by building on the inherent strengths of our business and management team. Our acquisition last year of Burchell Nursery Inc. was one example, and now this historic merger with Gerawan takes it to yet another level.”