( Courtesy Washington Fruit & Produce Co. )

Washington Fruit & Produce Co. and Yakima Fresh have merged to sell apples, cherries and pears.

The new partnership, Washington Fruit Sales, merges Yakima Fresh with the Washington Fruit & Produce sales team, according to a news release.

Washington Fruit Sales will be the exclusive marketer for Roche Fruit, Washington Fruit and Mount Adams Fruit. Roche Fruit will continue to own and operate its farming and packing operations.

Tommy Hanses, CEO of Washington Fruit & Produce, said he and his partners, Don and Doug Gibson of Mount Adams Fruit Co., are excited to work with the Roche Fruit and Yakima Fresh teams.

“We share many of the same values and philosophies, including commitment to quality and excellence in all that they do,” Hanses said in the release. “The fit between these organizations enhances our ability to serve the needs of our customers.”

Washington Fruit & Produce was founded in 1916, and Roche Fruit was founded two years later.

“We have known the Washington Fruit team and organization for years and believe the opportunity to partner with another long-term, quality focused, family owned organization is really unique and will resonate with our customers,” Michael Roche, president, said in the release.

Steve Smith, general manager of Yakima Fresh, said the merger provides the company with an “exceptional opportunity.”

“The breadth and depth of our combined programs is very exciting,” Smith said in the release.

Yakima Fresh was founded in 2005, by three Yakima apple companies — Hansen Fruit & Cold Storage Inc., Roche Fruit Co. LLC, and Yakima Fruit & Cold Storage Co. Inc. — and Stadelman Fruit LLC, Zillah, Wash.

Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash., announced this spring it will be marketing Stadelman Fruit’s crops.

CMI Orchards, Wenatchee, also formed a partnership this spring with Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage Co. 

Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, became the marketer of cherries and apples from Hansen Fruit in 2018.

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