Garden Fresh Not Going Anywhere in Spite of Big-Name Talks

mbrew brought to you by top adGarden Fresh Not Going gardenfreshADAnywhere in Spite of Big-Name Talks

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 28, 2015)

“Garden Fresh Gourmet is not going anywhere.”

That is the promise made by Jack Aronson, who started the Ferndale-based company 18 years ago by packaging and selling his special recipe salsa that was once a staple at the Clubhouse restaurant in the late 1980s and early 90s. Since that time there have been seven major food companies negotiating to buy the company, but each time Aronsondinos02sidelogo3 has turned them down.

“We are in the process of doing due diligence with a major food company, and we’ve been talking for about four months. But it’s still in the discussion phase. The money is on the table and that is no issue, but it’s the other things that need to be met before I would consider a sale,” Aronson said.

Those criteria are that the company agrees to stay in Ferndale, agrees to keep the same management team in place, and agrees to keep the same brand, the same recipe and the same high standards for processing. Garden Fresh makes salsa, hummus, chips and other foods.

“We have to grow and I have to consider offers. I worry about the 450 people who work for us and if I knew something that would work to protect them and protect Ferndale I would do it,” 711 ad slurpeehe said. “It’s flattering when big companies come to us, and the money is not the matter. It’s security for the workforce. And for the city. We’re the largest employer and the largest tax payer and I take that seriously.”

Aronson recalled that five years ago he’d been in talks with Pepsi over the sale of the business, but had to walk away because they were adamant about wanting to move the operation to Virginia. “At the time we were a $48million company and they were offering double that, but we said no. Garden Fresh stays in Ferndale.”

If a large company could meet the demands, it would provide security for the employees and the city, as well as give 61-year-old Aronson a chance to enjoy other areas of life including youth mentorship, playing baseball and ramping up his passion for food activism.

Recently Aronson launched The Seed, an incubator project that works with Eastern Market waterworkvendors to explore packaging and promotions of their edible products. “We’ve got seven companies right now working out of The Seed,” he said. “Michigan is #5 in the country for growing food, but we’re #25 for processing it. People have to send their pork to Wisconsin to be processed. Soybeans get sent to Indiana. There is a real need for more food processing in Michigan and a real potential for people that want to do that.”

His passion for food is trumped only by his passion for community. He grew up in Ferndale and graduated from Ferndale High School, where the former police chief Mike Kitchen was his class president and close friend. His wife went to St. James. And together they built the company up from selling salsa in a restaurant to now being sold internationally. Many at Garden Fresh are like family.

Though at times he’s needed larger space and it would have made sense to move out of the city, Judy_Palmer30yearshe instead chose to buy properties in Ferndale and have different parts of the business spaced apart. The estimated investment in property alone has been $50million.

In terms of the “big sale” that has social media buzzing, Aronson said noting is set in stone, but there may be an announcement in the next few weeks. But only, if the standards can be met and Garden Fresh stays in his beloved hometown.

Learn more about Garden Fresh at

Note: Garden Fresh is an advertiser of the website, but that fact has not influenced our reporting on this issue.

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