The Vanguard International Group, Issaquah, Wash., purchased Pride Packing Co., Wapato, Wash., as part of its strategy to develop a global vertically-integrated fresh fruit organization, able to supply fresh produce 52 weeks per year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Pride to Vanguard and to continue our working relationship with this industry leader,” says Craig Stauffer, Vanguard’s CEO. “We are proud to be associated with the Spada family, United Salad Co. and Pride, and we look forward to increasing our footprint in Washington to enhance our ability to supply our customers around the world.”

Pride Packing is said to be one of the first companies to adopt the two-leader growing and pruning technique that was developed by UC Davis, Davis, Calif. It’s also a vertically-integrated 3,000-acre farming operation complete with its own packing and cold storage facilities.

Ernest Spada, Sr. will continue as Pride’s chairman emeritus, and Brett Calhoun will continue as general manager and vice president of farming operations.

“We are dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition and seamless integration of all entities, as we enter this exciting partnership between Pride and Vanguard,” says Spada.  

“We’re extremely proud of the success and development that has been created at Pride, and look forward to further expanding our reach and growth as part of the Vanguard team,” says Calhoun.

Pride will continue to focus on planting additional acreage of complementary products.