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Rivermaid now handling cherry and apple sales for Farmington Fresh

Farmington Fresh, a Stockton, CA-based cherry, apple and pear packer, has moved its sales and marketing to Rivermaid Trading Co. in Lodi, CA.

The Farmington Fresh agreement, together with the stone fruit and grape volume added through its purchase of Wespak Sales and Enns Packing in 2012, represents an additional 2 million cartons for Rivermaid. The additional volume places Rivermaid among California's larger fresh cherry growers and marketers.

"The deal made sense for a number of reasons," Bruce Hesse, general manager of Farmington Fresh, said in a press release. "There has been a 30-plus year friendship between the Rajkovich family, partners in Farmington Fresh, and Chiles Wilson and Brian Machado, the founding partners of Rivermaid Trading Company. So the long-term personal relationships helped the agreement form smoothly. More important is Rivermaid's experience in the cherry category. With Rivermaid having operations in the center of both major cherry-growing regions in the state, our growers will be best served under the new arrangement. Rivermaid's sales team will be opening new markets for us."

"The arrangement is significant in that we can now support our retail customers with ample supply of cherries from the southern San Joaquin Valley," Ken Carter, chief marketing officer of Rivermaid Trading, added in the press release. "We will have excellent continuity from early to late season."

The agreement also adds California apple and pear volume to Rivermaid's sales and marketing portfolio.

Farmington's Stockton facility adds packing synergies for both organizations. The cherry, pear and apple packing lines will be used to process excess Rivermaid capacity.