Jan 9, 2020
Church Brothers acquires Green Giant veggie unit

Salinas, California-based Church Brothers Farms acquired the Green Giant Fresh value-added vegetable business from Growers Express. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

According to a news release, the acquisition includes Growers Express’ production facility and equipment located in Gonzales, California.

Church Brothers Farms will absorb the acquired value-added vegetable product line into its existing Green Giant Fresh sublicense with Growers Express. The company is integrating more than 130 Growers Express’ value-added fresh employees into its operation, the majority of which are expected to join the company in conjunction with the transaction.

This is Church Brothers Farms second acquisition from Growers Express within the past year; the company acquired Growers Express’ fresh vegetable commodity business in January 2019. With this most recent acquisition, the entire fresh vegetable program of Growers Express is now folded into Church Brothers Farms.

Church Brothers Farms will continue to grow raw product for the Green Giant Fresh value-added vegetable business.

This second acquisition will provide instant expansion for Church Brothers Farms into a number of high growth, value-added categories such as Brussels sprouts, riced vegetables, vegetable noodles, single serve vegetable bowls and Little Gem lettuce.

Rick Russo, Church Brothers Farms’ vice president of strategic growth and planning, said the acquisition of a value-added fresh vegetable product line will enhance the company’s growing retail offering.

“Taking over an existing program allows us to invest in innovation that will build our business as we expand our capabilities and resources,” Russo said. “The expansion of our existing value-add salad and vegetable program will also allow us to offer more to our foodservice customers. The location of the Gonzales facility is ideal because it is where our Green Giant Fresh commodity program is shipped from and maintaining the employees there will provide continuity in service and quality assurance.”

Growers Express retains its frozen cut vegetable business that includes noodles, rice and cut vegetables. Additionally, Growers Express retains the master licensing agreement for the Green Giant™ Fresh brand.

Tom Byrne, president of Growers Express, said, “This is a mutually beneficial scenario that allows us to focus on our frozen vegetable business while we partner with Church Brothers and other vegetable growers to expand into new products and categories with our successful Green Giant™ Fresh licensed brand. Church Brothers Farms has been a true partner for many years, and we’ve come closer together during the past year as we integrated our commodity team into the Church Brothers family. I am confident this transition will be as successful and that it will allow both organizations to leverage our strengths for mutual gain.”

Growers Express also operates a cooling facility in Gonzales, a processing facility in Biddeford, Maine and a frozen processing operation in Yuma, Ariz., that are not included in this transaction. This transaction is a continuation of the efforts to streamline Growers Express’ operations as the company focuses on frozen cut vegetables and other vegetable innovations such as rice and noodles, found in the freezer section of the grocery store.

Church Brothers Farms is a vertically-integrated family owned and operated company that produces a full line of fresh vegetables year-round with an in-house farming/harvest program and state of the art processing plant, True Leaf Farms. We are a grower-owned processor, farming the majority of our raw product ourselves; adhering to industry-leading food safety and quality standards. The Church family has a legacy of service and innovation. For more information about the company visit ChurchBrothers.com.

Founded in 1987, Growers Express, LLC is an innovator and marketer of premium-quality vegetable products, including first-to-market innovations such as Cauliflower Crumbles® and vegetable noodles. Located in Salinas, California, also referred to as the “salad bowl of the world,” Growers Express is the primary licensed partner of Green Giant™ Fresh, the exclusive fresh produce arm of the iconic Green Giant® brand.

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