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New partnership to reshape North American berry market

Always Fresh Farms and Giddings Fruit S.A., one of Latin America's leading berry and cherry producers and exporters, have announced a new, long-term partnership to create an integrated 52-week supply proposition for the North American berry market.

The venture, built on the grower heritage and family business values of both companies, is a significant development. Both partners share a commitment to providing outstanding products and customer service, and new variety innovation that will bring exciting development opportunities to the berry category.gidWayne Giddings, president of Always Fresh Farms, Julio Giddings, founder and CEO of Giddings Fruit, and Matthew Giddings, chief commercial officer at Always Fresh Farms.

“We are delighted to welcome Julio and the outstanding Giddings Fruit business into the Always Fresh family of growers," said Wayne Giddings, president of Always Fresh. “Sharing values from our individual farming communities, we identified we had much in common and quickly discovered mutual ambition to put this deal together. The fact we share the same family name -- well, it had to be! We are also really excited to gain access to the Giddings breeding program for our existing grower base and the fruit from their new genetics has really impressed us. We are sure it’s going to be really appreciated and in demand with our customers and partner growers.”

Julio Giddings, founder and chief executive officer of Giddings Fruit, said, “In partnering with Always Fresh Farms, we anticipate significant expansion opportunities in the North American market. We very much admire the Always Fresh commitment to their growers and to customer service. Now, with a trusted, collaborative partnership with Always Fresh, we are looking forward to working in a more direct relationship with the market and being part of their year-round program. The benefit of being part of an integrated relationship is that is shortens the communication chain on all the important issues of our business, including quality, food safety and innovation.”

Keith Mixon was named CEO of new partnership. His love for the berry industry is well documented with his 20-plus years, split between Sunnyridge Farm and Dole Berry Co., and has known both Giddings families for many years.

Mixon has been working with Always Fresh since September 2018 as special advisor and has been instrumental in developing the team and infrastructure during the latest period of significant growth. Matthew Giddings continues in his role as chief commercial officer and leads the sales and marketing team.