CMI Orchards Scales Up With Yakima Fruit Partnership

WENATCHEE, WA:  Furthering its dedication to being a leading fruit grower, packer and shipper in Washington State, CMI Orchards, LLC, is pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage Co.

This partnership will significantly expand CMI Orchards’ manifest by adding over 3 million boxes of exceptional quality apples to CMI’s diverse sales portfolio. CMI President Bob Mast shared, “With this partnership comes tremendous opportunity to increase our daily shipping capacity with the expansion of packing facilities and high-density acreage. This added volume will enable significant growth for both companies and provides a robust portfolio to carry CMI and Yakima Fruit into the future.”

“This is all a part of a long-range plan for strategic growth to better serve our growers as well as our expanding customer base,” said Mast. “The design began to unfold back in 2018 when CMI Orchards added Pine Canyon Growers as a grower, packer and shipper. Pine Canyon Growers has been a fantastic addition to our manifest and now our progress has enabled us to team up with another great partner in Yakima Fruit.”

“Yakima Fruit has a highly desirable manifest that we are excited to add to our offerings, including exceptional early Honeycrisp among other key varieties,” said Mast. According to Mast, the partnership was executed on March 20, 2020, and has immediately added additional core varieties to CMI’s selling power. Varieties include Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Cosmic Crisp®, Red Delicious, Pink Lady®, Gala, Fuji and Golden Delicious apples.

Mike Wilcox, President of Yakima Fruit, is excited that the partnership has been completed and said his company had considered many sales and marketing teams to team up with. “At the end of the day, there was no better choice than CMI,” Wilcox said. “CMI has proven time and time again they are innovation leaders, paving the way with many of the top-selling branded apple varieties in the U.S.A.” Wilcox added that he has always had tremendous respect for the CMI group, and the points of difference that CMI brings to the table to help retailers drive sales. “Having a strong core manifest is equally important, which is the value that Yakima Fruit adds to this partnership, as you have to be able to take care of customers’ everyday needs as well as bring something new and exciting to the table to keep apples exciting,” he said.

Mast reports that in addition to high production orchards, the Yakima Fruit partnership brings an opportunity to strategize on future plantings with available unplanted acreage to best meet the needs of CMI’s retailer and consumer preferences for both apples and cherries. “CMI is thrilled with the opportunity this blank slate provides and is eager to look into early cherry varieties, licensed branded apples and cherries, as well as high flavor, high quality core apple varietals.”

“This partnership will greatly increase CMI’s ability to service our customer base with fruit on a year- round basis. We are excited to have additional premium fruit to offer our customers and to continue to supply the highest quality fruit that we can, serving the needs of the market,” said Mast. “CMI is already known within the industry as being an innovator and leader for new branded items and organics, and this partnership will enable us to continue to pioneer advancements in these areas while expanding our fruit supply, meeting the needs of all of our customers. “We are very proud to welcome the Yakima Fruit team to the CMI Orchards Family and look forward to a long-lasting partnership,” Mast said. 

CMI Orchards, founded in 1989, is the sales and marketing arm of McDougall and Sons, Columbia Fruit Packers, Double Diamond Fruit Company, Highland Fruit Company and Pine Canyon Growers. With 9 warehouses locations throughout the State of Washington, this new partnership will add one additional packing shed, greatly increasing CMI’s production capacity and efficiencies.

Yakima Fruit was incorporated in 1949 by the Cohodas Brothers Company of Michigan, a wholesale produce distribution company with branches throughout Michigan and Wisconsin. Following World War II service with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Herbert L. Frank relocated to Yakima, Washington to assume management of the recently acquired packing and storage facility. Subsequently, Yakima Fruit was managed by Lawrence C. Frank and then Michael C. Wilcox, a third-generation grower with sales and marketing experience. In April 2018, a majority interest in Yakima Fruit was acquired by Pioneer Partners LLP, an investment subsidiary of the Hancock Natural Resources Group.