(UPDATED, Feb. 14) Monte Vista, Colo.-based Farm Fresh Direct and Tulelake, Calif.-based Cal-Ore Produce have come together in their marketing efforts for organic and conventional product.
Farm Fresh will act as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Cal-Ore, according to a news release.
Farm Fresh Direct is a grower-owned entity and Cal-Ore Produce will now be one of the part owners of Farm Fresh Direct, said Dave Yeager, vice president of business development for Farm Fresh Direct.
Yeager said Cal-Ore Produce will bring a huge organic volume base to Farm Fresh. In total, adding Cal-Ore to Farm Fresh Direct will increase volume by about 20%, with combined offerings of 2018 crop potatoes expected near 6 million hundredweight, he said.
“We are excited to have them join us, as it expands our footprint to the West Coast and allows us to service both current and new customers on the West Coast more cost-effectively,” he said Feb. 14.
Packing operations for the companies will remain the same, he said.
“(Cal-Ore) is a full-line grower of russets, reds, yellows and has the same organic (varieties),” he said. “It really helps further our one-stop shopping mentality and helps drive cost out of the equation,” Yeager said, noting the company will be able to service retail and foodservice customers with a range of varieties out of the same sheds.
Yeager said sales and marketing efforts will be unified for the 2018 season, with those operations based in Colorado.
“We have already begun some of the marketing and sales efforts, and the official transition is Oct. 1,” Yeager said.
National chain stores have reacted positively to the news, he said.
“With the larger footprint it allows us to ship out of more areas and service more of their divisions,” Yeager said.
Staunton Farms LP began growing potatoes in 1934 and is one of the founding members of Cal-Ore Produce, according to the release.
“We are excited about joining the Farm Fresh Direct organization; they have an excellent group of grower-owners who share our passion for farming and have a great customer base,” Sid Staunton, president of Cal-Ore, said in the release. “We have always focused on farming, but with the sales and marketing expertise that Farm Fresh Direct brings, it will help ensure our fourth-generation farms continue to thrive for our future generations.”