Chelan Fruit Cooperative is a 300-member, grower-owned cooperative based in North Central Washington. Its roots are in three former regional cooperatives: Trout, Inc, Blue Chelan, Inc, and MAGI, Inc.
Grower members elect a Board of Directors which guides and directs the management of the warehouse. Chelan Fresh Marketing markets the 7 to 8 million boxes produced annually at Chelan Fruit’s six production plants.
Currently Chelan Fruit receives and produces bins of conventional and organic apples, pears, cherries, plums and pluots from 12,750 acres located from the Canadian border south to Central Washington. They employ 600 employees, peaking at 1,200 employees during cherry season.
Trout Incorporated was incorporated in July 1921 as Lake Chelan Fruit Growers by eight growers. In 1921, fruit was hand sorted and packed, then shipped in one bushel wood boxes with labels glued on the ends identifying whose fruit was in the box. The Trout label is now a collector’s item. K.J. Hendershott was appointed manager of Trout, Inc. in 1921, and led the organization until 1966. To recognize his years of service a scholarship fund to further education in the agriculture industry has been established in his name.
Blue Chelan Incorporated was established in 1942 as Chelan Manson Fruit Cooperative by 26 local growers. At that time they brought in approximately 160,000 boxes of apples at each warehouse.
It took nearly 100 days to pack all the apples produced. Each year's crop had to be packed and shipped in a maximum of four months because apples could not be kept and stored beyond that time. Therefore, from January to August each year, the warehouse would virtually shut down until the new crop was delivered.
In September of 1995, Trout, Inc. and Blue Chelan, Inc. merged to form Trout-Blue Chelan, Inc., the largest apple packing cooperative in the world.
Mutual Apple Growers Incorporated (MAGI) was established in 1937 when a dozen growers got together and formed Brewster Cooperative Growers. In 1969 a merger of Brewster Cooperative Growers together with Mutual Apple Growers formed the Brewster Mutual Growers Association. In 1974 Omak Fruit Growers merged with the Brewster Mutual Growers Association which resulted in the official name change to MAGI.
MAGI continued to grow with the addition of Caribou Growers in 1987, Star Crisp Growers, Inc. of Okanogan in 1989, and Crisp N’ Spicy Growers in 1998, resulting in their largest crop of 240,000 bins. In 2004, MAGI merged with Trout-Blue Chelan, Inc.