( Courtesy Church Brothers )

Church Brothers Farms, Salinas, Calif., has entered into partnership with FiveStar Gourmet Foods, which has value-added salads and packaged snacks for retail and a range of fresh-cut items for foodservice operators.

The move will allow FiveStar to offer bagged salad kits and other convenience items beyond its Simply Fresh salad line in plastic containers, with conventional and organic products.

Through the agreement, the companies expand product offerings in the retail and foodservice arenas, but also will collaborate on resources, infrastructure, logistics, food safety and facilities, according to a news release from the companies. 

The partnership was announced June 8 and is effective immediately. There is no change in ownership or personnel, according to the release, and the companies continue to operate separately.

For several years, FiveStar has purchased product grown by Church Brothers for its Simply Fresh line of salads.

"This legal partnership creates a vertically integrated program for FiveStar Gourmet Foods and we are extremely excited to work with such a well-known, established company like Church Brothers Farms,” Tal Shoshan, CEO of FiveStar, Ontario, Calif., said in the release. “A grower-direct supply helps further our new product innovation especially within packaged salads like blends and kits, which FiveStar plans to impact in a big way, similar to how we impacted the salad bowl category."    

Church Brothers CEO Brian Church said the company plans to use the partnership to enter the bagged salad category.

“This partnership allows us to expand into regional processing with FiveStar’s state-of-the-art facilities in California and Florida, and quickly scale up to create new, innovative value added-items for our customers,” Church said in the release. “FiveStar will leverage our strong land base of more than 40,000 conventional and organic crop acres to expand into the bagged salad category.”

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