Dec 22, 2023
FirstFruit Farms acquires Applewood Fresh Growers

FirstFruits Farms, Prescott, Washington, has acquired Michigan’s Applewood Orchards and Applewood Fresh Growers.

This development marks a significant milestone in FirstFruits’ continuous pursuit of excellence and expansion, according to a news release.

FirstFruits FarmsWorking jointly, FirstFruits Farms and Applewood Orchards, Deerfield, Michigan, aim to provide customers with an even more diverse product line of apples, cherries and pears. This collaboration not only bolsters volume capabilities, but also enhances the ability to serve customers in the Midwest and East Coast with certain freight advantages, supply chain efficiencies and transit time reductions, according to the release.

“We are excited to welcome Applewood Fresh and Applewood Orchards into the FirstFruits Farms family,” Chuck Zeutenhorst, vice president of FirstFruits Marketing, said in the release. “This acquisition aligns perfectly with our mission to provide top-tier produce and service to our customers while embracing innovation and growth opportunities.”

One of the key highlights of this acquisition is the offering of new club varieties grown by Applewood Orchards, Rave, SweeTango, Ambrosia, and EverCrisp. 

This merger expands the opportunity and scope of both companies to serve their unique customer base, while also working together with the customers the two companies share coast to coast.

Applewood Orchards, operated by the Swindeman family, has built a strong reputation over the decades as a high-quality grower and packer in eastern Michigan, according to the release. The company’s roots run deep in Michigan, dating to 1935. 

“Applewood Orchards has built a strong reputation for its dedication and passion to grow, pack, and deliver high-quality fresh apples,” Scott Swindeman, of Applewood Fresh Growers, said in the release. “Our family’s commitment over the years to innovative growing methods, sustainability, and community aligns seamlessly with the values at FirstFruits Farms. This is a great match, which strengthens both companies.”

The acquisition also includes the Swindeman family’s partnership in Elite Packing, which is located in Sparta, Michigan, where Applewood Fresh Growers, a grower, packer and shipper of Michigan apples, is based. Applewood grows 19 branded and core apple varieties on more than 11,000 acres of grower partners’ land in west and southeast Michigan.

Operating for more than 45 years, FirstFruits Farms grows more than 10 varieties of apples on 10,000 acres in Eastern Washington.

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