Gebbers Farms and Chelan Fruit step in to help Gold Digger growers, workers

Gold Digger’s cherry facility was abuzz with activity Tuesday morning, as the  cherry line was started for it’s first official day of sorting and packing into Chelan Fruit boxes. The line is being operated by Chelan Fruit so Gold Digger growers would have a place to take their fruit during this early harvest.  Gary DeVon/staff photo

Gold Digger’s cherry facility was abuzz with activity Tuesday morning, as the cherry line was started for it’s first official day of sorting and packing into Chelan Fruit boxes. The line is being operated by Chelan Fruit so Gold Digger growers would have a place to take their fruit during this early harvest. Gary DeVon/staff photo

Majority of Co-op’s workers back on the job

“Chelan Fruit stepped in and allowed our growers to take their fruit to our warehouse under their name on short notice. Chelan Fruit and Gebbers have been just great”

Greg Moser, General Manager
Gold Digger Apples Inc.

OROVILLE – While Gold Digger Apples was basically shut down due to a $18.6 million bank loan being called and the company filing for bankruptcy, workers and growers were pleased to get back to work just in time for cherry harvest after others in the industry stepped in to lend a hand.

“We start up on Monday,” Greg Moser, general manager of Gold Digger Apples said last Friday. “We’re opening the cherry line under Gebbers and Chelan Fruit Company,”

Moser said by doing so it gives their local growers somewhere to take their fruit and keep people in their jobs, something that didn’t look so certain just last week.

in addition, bins of cherries from Gebbers Farms were also being loaded onto the line. Gary DeVon/staff photo

in addition, bins of cherries from Gebbers Farms were also being loaded onto the line. Gary DeVon/staff photo

“Chelan Fruit stepped in and allowed our growers to take their fruit to our warehouse for packing under their name on short notice. Gebbers has agreed to help keep the line full if we need more volume,” said Moser. “Chelan Fruit and Gebbers have been just great.”

Moser said the majority of Gold Digger’s workers, “anyone who has anything to do with the cherry aspect,” is back to work.

Meanwhile, U.S. Bank National Association, who demanded repayment of an $18,586,000 loan on May 20, 2016, now has to deal with the bankruptcy court as Gold Digger Inc. officially filed Chapter 7 under the federal bankruptcy code.

Gold Digger Apples Inc. is one of Oroville’s largest private employers. They filed for bankruptcy protection in federal district court in Spokane on Thursday, May 27.

According to Peg Callaway, the attorney representing Gold Digger, the move was made to protect the co-op’s growers.

The day before Gold Digger filed, Callaway said U.S. Bank had not responded to the co-op’s latest offer where a lessor has made an offer to purchase the loan.

Included in U.S. Bank’s suit, along with Gold Digger Apples Inc., were Kernan Orchards Inc., Carbon Cycle Crush LLC and Oroville Reman & Reload, according to the filing.

Gebbers Farms is a family-owned fruit company based in Brewster which has an ongoing relationship with Gold Digger, bringing some of their fruit to be packed at Oroville. Gebbers Farms fruit is sold through Chelan Fresh, a joint venture with Chelan Fruit Company. Chelan Fresh also markets fruit for Gold Digger.

See related: http://www.gazette-tribune.com/?p=72488

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.