These days, you don’t hear someone say they’re going into their family business.
But family businesses have been around for generations. They not only mean something to the family who’s built them – they mean something to all of the families they’ve had a direct impact on throughout the years. They have a personal connection that you don’t often find these days with big name brands.
Here at Meduri, we believe in family business. And we’d like to tell you how ours got started.
This story begins with Joe Meduri. He learned all about the food industry from his mom and dad. After graduating college in 1980, with a finance degree in tow, he decided to work for a maraschino cherry processor, which took him from California to Oregon. Before Joe knew it, he was taken with the business of fruit processing.
In 1984 Joe and his wife, Cindy, decided to settle in Turner, Oregon. And that same year, they started Meduri Farms, Inc. on their family farm. They started simple and with what they knew well – cherries. They started cherry farming and brine cherry processing, and before they knew it, Meduri Farms grew to be the supplier to the maraschino cherry industry.
As the years went on, Meduri Farms continued to grow. In 1988, operations began to expand, and the Meduri’s started to lease a drying plant in Dallas, Oregon, where they could dry and sell natural sweet cherries – Bing and Rainier among them. And they were popular. Sweet cherries were a sought-after product by both natural food retailers and confectionery companies.
Over the next few years, operations continued to grow steadily, but in 1995, there was a surge of growth. That’s the year when Meduri Farms made the decision to process infused dried fruits and expanded well beyond cherries. Products included tart cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and even razzcherries (cherries infused with natural berry juice).
The following year, the Meduri’s purchased the land in Dallas, Oregon. This cherished location on Smithfield Road is home to the main processing facility and company headquarters today.
With business booming, the Meduri’s chose to expand their sales team in 1997 to focus primarily on industrial sales. They had outgrown their humble beginnings in Turner, Oregon, so the maraschino cherry processing operation came to a close, and resources were redirected to Dallas, Oregon. The focus now was to grow the infusion and drying operations.
And as one chapter ends, a new one begins.
The following year, the Meduri’s worked tirelessly to become AIB (Food Safety) certified. Their goal was to earn an “Approved Supplier” status with the USDA, which is no easy feat. But as luck would have it, in 2000, Meduri Farms was able to award its first contract to supply Dried Cherries to the USDA for the Needy Families & School Nutrition Program. This was a huge accomplishment for the Meduri’s and a cause for celebration.
For two decades, Meduri Farms was on the up and up, but sometimes life has a way of presenting challenges we don’t expect.
In 2001, the dryer on Smithfield Road in Dallas, Oregon, caught fire and burnt down. While this setback may have stopped many businesses for good, Meduri Farms saw this challenge as an opportunity. They relocated their drying operation to a nearby plant until a new dryer could be built on their land. During this time, the Meduri’s expanded their main plant on Smithfield Road to 50,000 square feet, which included a new dryer building and packaging facility.
This not only increased the Meduri’s production capacity, but it supported the continued growth of industrial sales for the family. Meduri Farms even purchased Fir Villa Farm, also in Dallas, Oregon, where they gained access to 150 acres of land. This is where they would eventually plant their tart cherry trees.
In 2002, the Meduri’s received some great news. They found out that Meduri Farms was the first company to infuse and dry raspberries successfully. And they were able to offer this specialty fruit in bulk to the food processing industry.
But just like two years before, misfortune struck again in 2003. The old dehydrator on Fir Villa Farm collapsed in a snowstorm. But the Meduri’s determination and hard work ethic wouldn’t let this unexpected setback stop them. They decided to construct a 15,000 square foot packaging and distribution facility on the land.
Over the next few years, the business continued to grow at a steady pace.
And in 2006, after twenty-five years in the specialty fruit business perfecting their recipe, the Meduri’s decided it was time to release their fine dried fruit to the public with the launch of Meduri World Delights.
As the love and adoration for their products continued to grow, the Meduri’s expanded even more over the next several years. They established a frozen fruit processing plant in 2007 and introduced additional warehouse space in 2008 in Salem, Oregon, and they built a new processing plant in 2011 in Dallas, Oregon, which would become the main manufacturing plant.
2012 saw even more growth as the Meduri’s officially became GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) certified. That same year they installed a new sizing process in their remodeled Fir Villa Farm processing plant, and they acquired additional acreage in Dallas, Oregon. This is where they would eventually plant their sour cherry trees.
Two years later, in 2014, after establishing quite the legacy in the specialty dried fruit business, Joe Meduri makes the decision to retire. Having been in business for well over 30 years, Joe is ready to have the next generation of the Meduri family take over the family business and carry on its legacy as the industry leader and global supplier of specialty dried fruits.
The following year, the second generation of Meduri’s assume responsibility for the business. And so the story continues on with Dominic, Justin, and Mario Meduri. Together, they purchase additional acreage where they plant blueberry fields.
2016 sees even more expansion and innovation as the next generation of Meduri’s put their stamp on the family business of dried specialty fruits. What started forty years ago with some naturally sweet cherries has grown into what can only be called a sweet family legacy.
And there you have it – the story of how Meduri came to be.
We couldn’t be more excited to share our products with you as we’ve shared our story. From mandarin oranges from orchards in China to peaches and blackberries from Chile. From lingonberries from Scandinavia to pink lady apples from the Pacific Northwest.
You can have it all. Every flavor is perfectly captured with our signature Meduri method.
Every single piece of fruit we bring to you, we make sure to package with care, just as you would in your own home. And just like Santa Claus checks his list twice, we make sure to check each piece of our fruit twice. We want to make sure each piece captures just the right flavor and texture if it’s going to travel to your home and carry our family name.
What’s important to you is important to us.
From our family to yours,