APPLEWOOD ORCHARDS AND APPLEWOOD FRESH GROWERS HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY FIRSTFRUITS FARMS, A PORTFOLIO COMPANY OF ONTARIO TEACHERS’ PENSION PLAN BOARD
Birmingham, Michigan – December 21, 2023 – Angle Advisors is pleased to announce that FirstFruits Farms LLC (“FirstFruits Farms”), a portfolio company of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has acquired Applewood Orchards, Inc. (“Applewood Orchards”) and Applewood Fresh Growers LLC (“Applewood Fresh Growers”). Angle Advisors acted as the exclusive investment banking advisor to Applewood Orchards and Applewood Fresh Growers in completing the transaction.
Working jointly, FirstFruits Farms and Applewood Orchards aim to provide customers with even more remarkable and diverse product offerings, including apples, cherries and pears. This collaboration not only bolsters volume capabilities, but also enhances the ability to serve customers in the Midwest and East Coast with certain freight advantages, supply chain efficiencies and transit time reductions.
"We are excited to welcome Applewood Fresh and Applewood Orchards into the FirstFruits Farms family," said Chuck Zeutenhorst, vice president of FirstFruits Marketing. "This acquisition aligns perfectly with our mission to provide top tier produce and service to our customers while embracing innovation and growth opportunities."
One of the key highlights of this acquisition is the expanded offering of new club apple varieties, specific to Applewood Orchards. Aside from growing key retail varietals, Applewood Orchards also grows new varieties such as Rave, SweeTango, Ambrosia and EverCrisp.
This merger expands the opportunity and scope of both companies to serve their unique customer base, while also working together with the customers the two companies share coast to coast.
Applewood Orchards, operated by the Swindeman family, has built a strong reputation over the decades as a high-quality grower and packer in eastern Michigan. The company’s roots run deep in that state, dating back to 1935.
“Applewood Orchards has built a strong reputation for its dedication and passion to grow, pack, and deliver high-quality fresh apples,” said Scott Swindeman of Applewood Fresh Growers. “Our family’s commitment over the years to innovative growing methods, sustainability and community aligns seamlessly with the values at FirstFruits Farms. This is a great match, which strengthens both companies.”
The acquisition also includes the Swindeman family’s partnership in Elite Packing, which is located in Sparta, MI.
Applewood Orchards has several outside growers bringing their fruit to be stored, packed, and marketed. Applewood also grows over 450 acres of apples of its own with plans to continue expanding its acreage. Applewood now has 16 controlled atmosphere rooms in Deerfield, MI plus several grower owned and rented rooms. Applewood is shipping to numerous areas east of the Rocky Mountains and exporting to several countries. Applewood's main goal is quality, service, and consistency. For more information on Applewood Orchards and Applewood Fresh Growers, please visit www.applewoodapples.com and www.applewoodfresh.com.
FirstFruits Farms is a grower of apples, cherries and pears in Washington state. With over five decades of growing experience and vertically-integrated operations, the company is able to closely monitor its fruit as it is grown, stored, and packed at the same location. FirstFruits Farms was the first grower to plant Granny Smith apples in Washington and is now the largest single-grower in the state. The company introduced the popular Opal apple variety in 2010. FirstFruits Farms now grows over 10 varieties of apples on 10,000 acres in Eastern Washington. For more information on FirstFruits Farms, please visit www.firstfruits.com.
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (“Ontario Teachers’”) is a global investor with net assets of C$249.8 billion. Ontario Teachers’ invest in more than 50 countries in a broad array of assets including public and private equities, fixed income, credit, commodities, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and venture growth to deliver retirement income for 336,000 working members and pensioners. With offices in Toronto, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai and San Francisco, their more than 400 investment professionals bring deep expertise in a broad range of sectors and industries. Ontario Teachers’ is a fully funded defined benefit pension plan and has earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.4% since the plan's founding in 1990. For additional information, please visit www.otpp.com.
Angle Advisors, with offices in the United States, Germany, and China, specializes in mergers and acquisitions and capital raising. The firm’s professionals have completed 289 transactions since 2009 for multinational corporations, privately held companies, private equity funds, and public sector clients. For additional information, please visit www.angleadvisors.com.