The processing arm of Oregon Cherry Growers Inc. is now officially Oregon Cherry Growers LLC (OCG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Coast Producers, a Lodi, California-based agricultural cooperative.
The sale was finalized June 15 after the sale by the Port of The Dalles of some remnant land parcels that were located within the Cherry Growers Downtown and Riverside properties.
“I think they will be good members of the community,” says Marty Hutchinson, Plant Manager for Riverside. “I don’t see that changing.”
He sees a lot of similarities in culture between Pacific Coast Producers and OCG, and expects continued community involvement.
“Our company values and strengths align well with those of Oregon Cherry Growers, and will further allow us to serve the needs of our customers,” said Pacific Coast Producers President and Chief Executive Dan Vincent in a May 31 Salem Statesman Journal story. “We fully expect this new venture to be a platform for the continued growth of our cooperative.”
Some changes are happening, but Marty still reports directly to Steve Anderson in Salem, OCG’s Senior Vice President of Operations. Staffing between Pacific Coast Producer’s and OCG’s main offices is being consolidated, but Marty anticipants an actual increase in staffing in The Dalles. Currently, the company is trying to recruit an Environmental Manager and additional technicians to work on the wastewater facilities here.
Observers in The Dalles can also expect to see capital improvements both inside and outside OCG facilities. “Pacific Coast Producers recognizes that money needs to be invested into the business,” Marty says. An investment in the OCG wastewater facilities is already underway in The Dalles.
Pacific Coast Producers is excited about the purchase of Oregon Cherry Growers, Marty says. In particular, their focus on fruit cocktail meshes well with OCG’s maraschino cherry production. In addition, they share some food service customers, which presents an opportunity for dovetailing production, warehousing and distribution. The Dalles orchardists who were members of Oregon Cherry Growers Inc. have become their own separate cooperative, Cascade Fruit Growers (see related story), which will continue to supply fruit to Oregon Cherry Growers LLC. OCG will continue to handle, store and transport Cascade’s fresh fruit to their processing facility in Yakima.