Harbinger Group acquires Misionero

by Tim Linden | October 20, 2016

Harbinger Group LLC, parent company of Green Wave Farms, Vertical Foods, Epic Foods and Fresh Produce Partners, announced that it has acquired organic specialty salad pioneer Misionero Vegetables, effective immediately. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

The new organization reunites Stephen Griffin of Misionero with Todd Koons and Thomas Minnich of Harbinger, each of who were on the forefront of the organic revolution. The team will build upon Misionero Vegetables’ founder, Floyd Griffin’s, vision of “growing today for a greener tomorrow.” Their original thinking and foresight also forged the way for more respectful labor treatment and the creation and development of farming practices that transformed both farming culture and business practices today. Together they helped shape the healthy eating revolution now taking place around North America.

Creating one produce powerhouse

The firm also announced it will use “Misionero” as the new business name encompassing brands and products that include Misionero Vegetables’ Garden Life and Earth Greens Organics, along with Epic Foods, Green Wave Farms and Vertical Foods. Collectively these brands share deep expertise in smaller scale farming and a commitment to best practices around organic and conventional growing methods for quality and safety.

Combined under the Misionero name they will have the opportunity to gain efficiencies in packing and logistics, and drive innovation across the business. Customers, however, will still be able to find their favorite familiar brands and products.

Pete Donlon, formerly a key member of Earthbound Farm, has joined the team as vice president. Joel Rudnick moves from general manager at Green Wave Farms to vice president. Peter Meehan, Newman’s Own Organics president, and Mike Thurlow, chief executive officer of Mountain View Fruit Sales, will serve as board members.

Minnich, Misionero’s new chairman and CEO, said in a press release, “With more than 40 years of experience, Misionero Vegetables has long been a highly regarded pioneer in the organic specialty salad category. I had the honor of serving as president of sales from 1988 to 1998 when we were a part of spearheading organics and helped to establish new standards that have since been adopted broadly across the marketplace. In this new organization we will maintain Misionero Vegetables’ commitment to providing fresh quality products that are easy to use, delicious and nutritious without compromising quality or harming the environment. All of us are dedicated to investing in our planet’s future and the long term health of our families and future generations from the fields to consumer’s plates.”

“The Harbinger team’s stellar reputation in our industry is based on their track record of consistently bringing timely and meaningful innovation to organic produce since the late 1980’s,” said Griffin, the former CEO of Misionero Vegetables, who is now a Misionero partner and board member. “I speak for our entire organization when I say we are pleased to reunite with our former colleagues and bring forward new advancements in the produce world.”

David Jones, a Green Wave Farms grower, said, “I’m proud to be associated with our larger group of growers and look forward to collectively achieving our fullest potential. Sharing growing practices will create new efficiencies for us all and will allow our group to expand growing opportunities into new regions more seamlessly.”

Thurlow noted, “Mountain View has been looking for the right entry point into organic farming. This was the right opportunity and the right group of people for us to collaborate with.”

Stewardship of the land

Realizing that sustainability is an important factor in how customers and consumers look at food purchases, Misionero’s focus will be on production practices with environmental benefits such as water management practices, no-till or minimum tillage, habitat maintenance and biological pest control. These ecologically protective practices contribute to enhanced ecosystem services and benefit water quality, soil health, and biodiversity.

Misionero’s new president and COO, Joe Merenda, added, “We fully recognize and appreciate the trust consumers have in our brands. We want to build upon their confidence and incorporate their evolving needs across our companies. We will do this with a proven team built around new product innovation, superior execution, and a customer-centric culture.”

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