The fresh cherry grower members of Oregon Cherry Growers Inc. in The Dalles area are taking on a new name and new focus as Oregon Cherry Growers’ processing arm comes under the ownership of Pacific Coast Producers.
The growers have begun operating as Cascade Cherry Growers Inc.
“We’re still a co-op and we still have the same bylaws, but we have to go through some divisions,” says Dan Ericksen of The Dalles, Cascade’s Chairman of the Board.
Cascade Cherry Growers has a 50 percent stake in a Yakima Valley fresh packing facility called Pacific Coast Cherry Packer (PCCP), where Cascade’s fresh cherries will be packed.
This wasn’t an easy year for the Cascade Cherry growers.
“The weather just broke funny and the cherries kind of quit growing,” Ericksen says. “The quality was impacted significantly, but differently for different growers. Everyone had something with a different effect.”
Despite the quality impacts, the crop was quite large, so a lot of fruit was run through the packing plant, which helped it yield a good profit. That profit helps buffer the financial impact on the growers.
Dan expects to see some organizational changes moving forward. Cascade’s board was originally organized to serve the needs of growers in both The Dalles and Salem.
“We’ll probably reduce the number [of board members] and make some organizational changes,” he says. “Obviously, we don’t need the same level of CEO and operations people because we don’t have operations. We own part of a facility that has its own staff. We’re really becoming more of a pass-through entity.”