Jun 13, 2019Michigan Fresh Marketing, BelleHarvest merge sales
Two Michigan apple markers are merging their sales operations.
The merger makes BelleHarvest and Michigan Fresh Marketing the second largest apple shipper in Michigan, according to a news release from BelleHarvest. The combined companies represent about 150 growers and operate seven packing facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin.
“This move is being made to take full advantage of both companies strengths and abilities,” BelleHarvest CEO Milt Fuehrer said in a news release. “By merging the offices into one company, there will be a robust sales department along with a wider distribution footprint.” The organization is targeting 3 million bushels of fresh apples available for sale in the upcoming season.
The consolidation of BelleHarvest and Michigan Fresh Marketing will also make possible further expansion, said Michigan Fresh CEO Joe D’Ottavio.
“The growth potential these two organizations bring to the market is exponential,” Ottavio said in the release. “We have an experienced sales team, diverse varieties, and the ability to pack orders quickly and efficiently.”
A changing industry
The BelleHarvest/Michigan Fresh Marketing merger comes in the wake of other recent shakeups in the sales of Michigan apples.
Sparta-based Riveridge Produce Marketing announced in January 2019 it had purchased Jack Brown Produce’s brand and fresh-pack sales operation, positioning it to sell roughly half of Michigan’s fresh apples.
Also in January, a new company, Applewood Fresh Growers, was launched in Sparta, Michigan, a grower, packer, shipper and marketer of Michigan apples with a network of predominantly family-owned orchards with more than 11,000 acres.