Oxford Acquires Rainbow Farms Assets, Finalizes Land Swap
Oxford, Nova Scotia, Canada-headquartered Oxford Frozen Foods has been advised by the receiver for Rainbow Farms that its bid for assets of the company has been successful. The transaction, which closed on June 27, includes a building in Rawdon and various parcels of wild blueberry land, wood lots and other land in Nova Scotia.
Oxford Frozen Foods has done business with Rainbow in recent years, utilizing its refrigerated warehouse for storing frozen carrots and wild blueberry product. The facility will continue to be used for cold storage in the future.
Rainbow Farms’ wild blueberry processing line has experienced relatively low annual production levels recently, representing less than a day’s production in Oxford’s other processing plants in Nova Scotia. The line has been closed for the last nine months and will not reopen. Oxford will be holding a job fair for the former employees of Rainbow to determine whether there are suitable opportunities for them with the company at its other locations.
Meanwhile, on June 16 the Department of Natural Resources announced finalization of a land swap arrangement with a subsidiary of Oxford Frozen Foods, Acadian Farms Development Partnership, to set up a new blueberry operation in northeastern New Brunswick. It involved the even exchange of 6,361 hectares (15,712 acres) of Crown land for private land between the company and the department.
“I am happy that this exchange will enable Oxford Frozen Foods to move on to the construction of a new processing facility that will increase the opportunity for the region to flourish as a leader in the blueberry development sector,” said Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud.
Oxford, which has been continuously involved in the Acadian Peninsula’s wild blueberry industry since 1968, has eyed expansion in New Brunswick for some time. Last October 31 it announced plans to invest $184 million to construct a new processing facility, develop wild blueberry fields and create up to 300 jobs in the region. The project includes a $50 million, 12,600 square meter plant.
The company, which is the world’s largest grower and processors of wild blueberries, operates eight manufacturing facilities in the Maritimes and United States that collectively have capacity to process more than three million pounds of berries a day at peak harvest times, and maintains frozen storage capacity for 150 million pounds of product. It farms more than 8,903 hectares (22,000 acres) of its own wild blueberry fields and exports finished product to 29 countries.
Oxford also ranks as one of North America's largest producers of frozen carrots, and is among Canada's significant manufacturers of onion rings and battered appetizers.