Stemilt Boosts Tree Fruit Clout With Dovex

Stemilt and Dovex Fruit Co. are joining forces 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 be combined into Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt’s operations, and the high-quality fruit that both companies are known for will be marketed under the Stemilt label. Stemilt will gain about 175,000 bins of fruit storage and a state-of-the-art apple-packing facility. The Dovex facility abuts Stemilt’s primary packing and shipping facility, Olds Station. The close proximity of the two packing facilities is expected ease continuity of Stemilt’s operations, according to Mathison.

On the farming side, Dovex Orchards will 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 over 17,000 captive acres owned by itself and its marketing partners heading into the 2010 summer and fall harvests.

Jay Fulbright, general manager of Dovex, will join Stemilt’s executive team, while Mauro Felizia, EVP of Dovex Holding Co., will become a new member of Stemilt’s board. The Dovex Export Co. will continue to function independently.

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 high-quality fresh fruit.
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