Posted on October 2, 2019 by Sustainable Food News

Earthbound parent co. scoops up assets of major fresh-cut organic veggie co.

Club Chef still operates a certified-organic facility in Georgia

Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc. dba Taylor Farms said it has acquired certain assets of leading certified-organic, fresh-cut vegetable company Club Chef LLC.

Terms of the transaction, which included assets of Club Chef’s operation in Covington, Ky., were not disclosed.

Club Chef’s Covington, Ky., operation was certified organic in 2014 by Quality Assurance International (QAI). The Covington facility will continue operating under the leadership of the Taylor Farms’ Smyrna, Tenn., business, which operates under the name Taylor Farms Retail, Inc., and was certified organic by QAI in 2006.

Club Chef also maintains a 240,000-square-foot, certified-organic facility in Conley, Ga., which was certified in 2015 by QAI. A company spokesperson confirmed to Sustainable Food News that only the Kentucky assets were sold.

Club Chef is a division of Castellini Company LLC, based in Newport, Ky., one of the nation’s largest fresh produce distributors. Castellini operates a certified-organic facility in Wilder, Ky., which was certified organic in 2016 by QAI.

Castellini also maintains organic grower/shipper partnerships with Cal-Organic, Driscoll, Stemilt, Earthbound Farm, Organic Girl, Wholesome Harvest, and Viva Tierra, among others.

Founded in 1896 on the original Cincinnati produce terminal market, Castellini is one of the oldest members in the produce industry. It conducts business through its operating companies under the names Castellini, Club Chef, Crosset Co., General Produce, Grant County Foods, and RWI Logistics.

“This transaction provides a wonderful opportunity for our employees and customers who are joining Taylor Fresh Foods and allows us to be singularly focused on growing in areas of the produce supply chain where Castellini has, for over 120 years, provided great value to its customers,” said Brian Kocher, CEO of Castellini.

Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms, certified organic by QAI in 2002, is one of the world’s largest producers of organic and conventional, fresh-cut and packaged produce, including salads, stir-fry kits and bagged vegetables and fruits.

Taylor Farms, which had acquired iconic organic produce brand Earthbound Farm from Danone in April, maintains 12 operating companies and distribution facilities throughout North America.

Taylor supplies most of the biggest U.S. supermarket and foodservice chains with a wide variety of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, prepackaged salads and prepared meals under the Taylor Farms and River Ranch brands.

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