Canada’s Oppenheimer Group, the fruit-and-vegetables business majority-owned by Ireland’s Total Produce, has acquired a controlling stake in an avocados grower and supplier in California.

Vancouver-headquartered Oppenheimer, commonly known as Oppy, has purchased a 65% stake in Eco Farms for an undisclosed sum. 

Based in the city of Temecula, Eco Farms produces organic and regular avocados, as well as dragon fruit, kumquats and citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and tangerines for the retail and foodservice sectors in the US sourced from North and South America. Its portfolio consists of Eco Farms’ namesake brand, Rainbow and TNT.

David Smith, the president and chief revenue officer of Oppenheimer, said: “Through this partnership we will complement Oppy’s existing avocado programmes and will be able to drive the category forward by uniting the unique strengths and advantages of both businesses. The avocado category has seen substantial growth over the last ten years, and is bouncing back from recent market variability as the new Mexican crop begins.” 

Oppenheimer is owned by Dublin-based Total Produce, which first invested in the fruit grower in 2013 via a minority stake before increasing its holding in 2017. Oppy also supplies the retail and foodservice channels with fruit and veg, including apples, kiwi, Brussels sprouts and tomatoes.

Following the acquisition, Oppy said it will now offer organic and conventional avocados sourced from markets such as Mexico, California, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

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Steve Taft, Eco Farms’ president and founder, said: “We’re confident that by working together we can truly accelerate our growth and bring both of our organisations to new heights. Thanks to Oppy’s extensive industry knowledge and connections we can expand at a speed and scale that otherwise would not have been possible, while they can tap into our decades of tried and trusted expertise in this robust category.”