Pride Packing Co., a Wapato, Wash.-based division of Vanguard International, Issaquah, Wash., joined forces with Sage Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash., to enhance marketing, sales and distribution of fruit and promote Pride’s domestic Washington State apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines.

“We are very happy to join Sage as an equity partner, and to continue our working relationship with this industry leader to market and sell the fruit we grow and pack in Washington,” says Craig Stauffer, chief executive officer of Vanguard. “We look forward to working closely with the Sage team and its members to deliver high-quality, great-tasting fruit to customers worldwide.”

Sage Fruit is a growing, marketing and sales organization comprised of Valley Fruit, Valicoff Fruit, Olympic Fruit and Larson Fruit. In 2015, Valley Fruit and Larson Fruit combined packing operations to form Legacy Fruit Packers with a state-of-the-art packing, storage and shipping facility.

“We are excited by the addition of Vanguard Pride to the Sage Fruit family,” says Steve Clement, general manager of Sage Fruit Co. “The addition of such a high-quality growing and packing operation to Sage is an important step in our overall growth strategy and will enhance our ability to supply our customers with the best-tasting, highest-quality tree fruit Washington State has to offer.”

Vanguard Pride is a vertically-integrated, 3,000-acre farming operation complete with its own packing and cold storage facilities. Further development of Vanguard Pride will continue to focus on planting additional acreage of complementary products.

“We’re extremely proud of the success and development that has been created at Vanguard Pride, and we look forward to further expanding our growth with the Sage marketing and sales organization,” adds Brett Calhoun, general manager and vice president of Washington farming operations, Vanguard Pride Packing Co.