Two Washington State grower-shippers will purchase a 50% stake in four Chilean grower-shippers.
Gebbers Farm and the Chelan Fruit Cooperative will purchase the stake in four Angol, Chile-based producers: Inversiones Agrícolas Buenos Aires S.A., El Almendro S.A., Fundo El Encanto S.A. and Frutícola Angol S.A., according to a Chelan Fruit news release.
Gebbers and the cooperative market apples, pears and cherries through Chelan Fresh Marketing, which markets fruit under the Trout, Chelan Fresh, Danny Boy and other labels. Chelan Fresh supplies about 15 million cartons of apples, pears and cherries annually.
The four Chilean shippers, which will be combined into one new company, CHISA, grow apples and cherries on 1,700 acres. CHISA is expected to export about 1.2 million cartons of fruit to the U.S., Canada and other markets annually.
The venture between the Washington and Chilean companies is the product of many years of working together, Reggie Collins, Chelan Fruit’s chief executive officer, said in the release.
“Over the years we have developed close bonds with our partners in Chile,” Collins said in the release. “Like us, they emphasize growing the highest quality apples and the best varieties, and are known as being fine growers with an innovative nursery. The partnership began several years ago when we sold some of their fruit, and has deepened as we have continued to work closely together sharing knowledge.”
The goal of the venture, Collins said, is to provide customers with a year-round supply of high-quality apple varieties.