Applewood Fresh Growers emerges in Michigan
Two Michigan apple shipping companies are emerging from an ownership split of All Fresh GPS. “All Fresh will cease doing business as of March 31,” said Scott Swindeman.
The two companies filling the All Fresh void are Swindeman’s new company, Applewood Fresh Growers LLC, and Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC. Applewood Fresh Growers is owned by Swindeman and his family, which also owns the longstanding orchard and packing operation, Applewood Orchards Inc., located in Deerfield, MI. Applewood Orchards and Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC (which used to be owed by the Heeren family) joined forces several years ago to launch All Fresh.
Applewood Fresh Growers is an apple sales and marketing company. Its sales office is in Sparta, MI. Fruit sold by Applewood Fresh will either be packed at Applewood Orchards or in Sparta at Elite Apple Co. LLC. The Swindemans are one of seven Michigan apple growers to own Elite Apple. Swindeman said that Elite Apple Co. is under way in adding a second packingline.
Swindeman said that the complex agreement to separate Applewood Orchards from Michigan Fresh Marketing was signed in June 2018, but that both parties agreed not to begin engaging in separate sales activities until Jan. 1, 2019.
Swindeman said that “the Applewood Fresh team has the same familiar faces. There’s not really any big change, other than the name. The people that I’ve had the privilege to work with the past few years in serving our apple buying customers have joined the Applewood Fresh team.
“We have the same managed varieties: SweeTango, Kiku and Kanzi and offer traditional Michigan apple varieties along with the new and exciting EverCrisp.”
Nick Mascari moved from vice president of sales of All Fresh to become the president of Applewood Fresh Growers. His sister, Antonia Mascari, joined the Applewood Fresh staff in June as director of marketing. Both of the Mascaris were born into the produce industry through their family business, Indianapolis Fruit Co. in Indianapolis.
“We have added to the staff with RJ Simons, who is director of sales,” he said. Simons previously worked for Belleharvest Sales Inc., an apple marketing company in Belding, MI. In his spare time, Simons is president of Michigan Pomesters, a non-profit that encourages collaboration and innovation in the fruit tree industry.
Swindeman said on the afternoon of Jan. 2, which realistically was the first day for the opportunity to do business, that Applewood Fresh Growers was enjoying sustenance of many longtime relationships.
“Nothing is changing. We’re only getting better. We’ve just added value to our customer base with more talent to make us bigger and better. Other than that, it’s business as usual.”