Apple supplier grows statewide reach


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A large supplier of apples expects to grow its market share in the state after acquiring part of a neighboring organization.

Riveridge Produce Marketing out of Sparta said last week it acquired the “sales operation” of Jack Brown Produce, which is also based in Sparta.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jack Brown Produce, which is a grower-owned business with a board and shareholders, made the decision to affirm the deal.

“Both Jack Brown Produce and Riveridge Produce have complementary grower communities making this union a natural fit,” said John Schaefer, president, Jack Brown Produce.

Riveridge did not acquire the packaging facility, which employs the majority of Jack Brown’s employees. One employee, a sales manager, transferred to Riveridge.

Schaefer will remain at the helm of Jack Brown Produce’s packing facility.

“We each have modern packing facilities and growers invested in the future, utilizing the latest growing techniques and moving forward on the varieties and strains that support today’s consumer preferences.”

On average, a Riveridge sells 37 percent of the fresh Michigan apple crop, according to a company spokesperson. With the acquisition, Riveridge expects to sell more than 50 percent of the state’s fresh apple crop.  

“With two strong, forward-thinking bases of growers, continued investments in new production and a consumer-driven varietal mix, we look to solidify our role as Michigan’s fruit specialists,” said Don Armock, president, Riveridge Produce Marketing.

“This is an opportunity to continue to share knowledge across our grower base and marry producers and customers based on their needs.”

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