Berry grower-shipper Always Fresh Farms, Winter Haven, Fla., has entered into a long-term partnership with Giddings Fruit S.A., a berry and cherry grower in Mexico and South America.
Keith Mixon, who joined Always Fresh Farms in October as a senior advisor to its executive team, is the CEO of the new partnership, according to a news release.
The agreement gives Always Fresh Farms a year-round supply for North American customers.
Julio Giddings, the founder and CEO of Giddings Fruit, said the agreement allows his company to significantly expand into the North American market.
“Now, with a trusted, collaborative partnership with Always Fresh, we are looking forward to working in a more direct relationship with the market and being part of their year-round program,” Giddings said in the release. “The benefit of being part of an integrated relationship is that is shortens the communication chain on all the important issues of our business including quality, food safety, innovation.”
Wayne Giddings is president of Always Fresh Farms, and Matthew Giddings is the chief commercial officer, leading the sales and marketing teams.
“We are delighted to welcome Julio and the outstanding Giddings Fruit business into the Always Fresh family of growers” Wayne Giddings said in the release. “Sharing values from our individual farming communities, we identified we had much in common and quickly discovered mutual ambition to put this deal together. The fact we share the same family name … well, it had to be!
“We are also really excited to gain access to the Giddings breeding program for our existing grower base and the fruit from their new genetics has really impressed us. We are sure it’s going to be really appreciated and in demand with our customers and partner growers.”
Mixon has been involved in the Florida berry business for more than 20 years, as president of Sunnyridge Farm, Winter Haven, and the head of Dole Berry Co.’s Florida operations when it bought Sunnyridge in 2011.
Giddings Fruit previously supplied berries from Chile and Mexico to Sun Belle Inc., which announced plans to expand grower relationships in the wake of the Always Fresh Farms’ supply arrangement.