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Stemilt And Dovex Join Forces

Big news in the Pacific Northwest:

Stemilt boosts role as tree fruit leader by joining forces with Dovex

WENATCHEE, Wash. — An even stronger Stemilt emerges following today’s announcement that it will join forces with Dovex Fruit Company to become the leading tree fruit growing, packing and marketing operation in the nation.

“Stemilt has embarked on a strong pattern of growth over the past decade, and we are excited to continue this growth by bringing Dovex into our operations,” said West Mathison, Stemilt president. “By integrating the strengths of our two companies, we look to continue delivering premium fruits to the marketplace, while extending the programs and services we provide to our valued customers.”

Through the deal, Dovex Marketing and Packing will combine into Stemilt’s operations, and the high-quality fruit that both companies are known for will be marketed under the Stemilt label. The Dovex Export Company will continue to function independently. Stemilt will gain approximately 175,000 bins of fruit storage and a state-of-the-art apple packing facility. The Dovex facility neighbors Stemilt’s primary packing and shipping facility, Olds Station.

“The close proximity of the two packing facilities is expected to drive continuity into Stemilt’s operations,” said West Mathison.

On the farming side, Dovex Orchards will proudly become a grower for Stemilt, adding to the company’s growth in apples, pears, cherries, stone fruit and organics over the past decade. The combination with Dovex strengthens Stemilt’s leadership in Washington-grown conventional and organic apples and pears. Stemilt already enjoys a strong leadership role in cherries, organic stone fruit and Wenatchee River Valley pears with its own manifest and through existing marketing partnerships with Douglas Fruit and Peshastin Hi-Up. In total, Stemilt will have an excess of 17,000 captive acres owned by itself and its marketing partners heading into the 2010 summer and fall harvests.

Additionally, Stemilt is excited to have Jay Fulbright, general manager of Dovex Fruit Company, join its executive team. Mauro Felizia, executive vice president of Dovex Holding Company, will become a new member on Stemilt’s Board of Directors.

“Dovex Fruit Company is excited to join the marketing strengths of Stemilt and leverage the proximity of our facilities,” said Jay Fulbright, general manager at Dovex.

Both Stemilt and Dovex are family-run companies that started decades ago with similar goals centered on providing consumers worldwide with access to a year-round supply of the best fresh fruit available. Stemilt was founded in 1964 by the late Tom Mathison, while the De Nadai family established Dovex in 1982. The De Nadai family has developed fruit operations worldwide for three generations.

“Stemilt and Dovex were founded on similar principles that directly relate to our mission of building consumer demand for tree fruit in order to deliver return to the land,” said West Mathison. “By bringing together the strengths of our organizations, Stemilt will be able to offer the most complete menu of products and services within our industry, providing great solutions for growers and retailers alike.”

This is a big change for the industry and we suspect the last card has not been played. Perhaps ties will develop between Stemilt and the De Nadai’s Unifrutti.

We, of course, wish the folks at both Dovex and Stemilt well.

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