Church Brothers Farms, Salinas, Calif., acquired the commodity vegetable business of Growers Express, LLC and a licensing agreement to extend the Green Giant Fresh brand to new varieties in partnership with Growers Express.

The acquired assets include the growing, harvesting and selling of field-packed vegetable commodities branded under Growers Express' Green Giant Fresh license. Growers Express, Salinas, Calif., retains the high-growth, value-added segment of its business, which includes Cauliflower Crumbles, Veggie Spirals and Green Giant Fresh Vegetable Bowls.

"The transition of our commodity vegetable business allows us to better leverage our expertise as innovators and marketers. It also gives us bandwidth to deliver more new products, consumer-focused innovation and value-added products to advance the business of our customers," says Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer of Growers Express. "We are a business rooted in farming, and we've been serving the commodity category for 30 years, so it was vital we find a partner that allows for seamless continuity for our farming operations, and Church Brothers Farms is an ideal partner."

The Growers Express commodity sales team will transition to Church Brothers Farms before the end of the winter growing season.

"We built a superior land base over the last decade making this a great fit. Church Brothers Farms is positioned to align this new business into an existing vertically integrated program, which helps make the shift in business a seamless change for Growers Express customers in terms of the consistency of the field-packed vegetable product line," adds Brian Church, chief executive officer of Church Brothers Farms.

The transaction is expected to expand Church Brothers Farms' overall annual production by 15-20%.

"This move increases efficiencies and leverages the strengths of both organizations," Church says. "There will be no overlap of customers by combining these programs; our existing program is predominantly foodservice and Growers Express' is retail. Existing customers of both companies can be assured their designated volume is still in place, just shifting all under one company."