The merger of two Treasure Valley onion shippers was announced on Feb. 23, with Murakami Produce Co. LLC and Baker Packing Company, both located in Ontario, OR, to consolidate as an “onion supershed” on July 1 and doing business as Baker & Murakami Produce Co. LLLP.
“Murakami and Baker have always had mutual respect for one another,” Grant Kitamura, managing member of Murakami Produce, said. “Both businesses have been successful and have reputations of quality product, honesty and integrity. It seemed only natural to merge the two operations to create a packing facility to establish a new economy of scale in Idaho-Eastern Oregon with the prowess to compete on any level.”
Steve Baker, president of Baker Packing, said he and his father, Baker founder and CEO Jerry Baker, are “looking forward to working with the people from Murakami Produce Co. We have the utmost respect for what they have accomplished over their long and successful history, and we believe both companies will be able blend their cultures into making for a better and more efficient company.”
To facilitate the efficiency, European-designed and manufactured grading and packing equipment is being installed in the existing Baker packing facility, and construction of a new 20,000-square foot finished product/shipping structure has begun at the site, the principals said. That structure will bring the new company’s total packing and shipping area to a total of 68,000 square feet.
The merger has been in the works for more than a year with management teams discussing the creation a “state-of-the-art packing facility, a facility that could stand the test of time and allow us to be more competitive in our industry,” Kitamura said.
Steve Baker agreed, saying, “Baker and Murakami have been leaders in our local industry for years, and we are all very excited as this new venture will be a game changer here in the Treasure Valley.”