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Tangible Joy

Tangible Joy

Before we begin this story, I’d like to ask you to take a break from the page. Take a moment to close your eyes, deepen your breathing, and imagine joy. Focus on the word sitting in front of you.


Once you’ve returned, ask yourself this: What emotions do those three little letters exude? Your mind may have drifted to sunny skies and the excited laughter of children. Or, maybe, you recalled an instance when you climbed a proverbial mountain and felt fueled by the reward waiting on the other side.

Joy is multidimensional—proving that happiness and challenge are not mutually exclusive. Joy, in a sense, is life.

Regardless of where your imagination went in that moment, I am confident the vision was vivid, casting a line back into your memories and drawing seemingly small moments to the forefront. Words, after all, are our truest guides. Where the letters lead, we follow.

Such is the philosophy of a produce marketer. These sculptors create in many mediums, wielding color, imagery, and language to magnetize the heart. An apple is no longer just an apple, but a vessel for human emotion that connects the mind to the stomach.

When shoppers see the words Joyfully Grown—the new brand identity of Chelan Fresh—they will be left with little choice but to smile.

“We wanted to come up with something fresh and meaningful that spoke to who we are and why we do what we do,” Chief Executive Officer Tom Riggan explains to me. “Through the brand, we are hoping to tell our story to the consumer, which can be very difficult to do with just a couple of words.”

The impetus for this new brand was a corporate restructuring at Chelan Fresh. The company saw an opportunity to reinvent itself in the eyes of the consumer, deciding not just to pivot its feet, but to take hold of its future. After many Board meetings and much consideration, the team landed on Joyfully Grown—an idea that reverberates through the company culture like a divining rod.

“Through the brand, we are hoping to tell our story to the consumer, which can be very difficult to do with just a couple of words.”

Tom Riggan, Chief Executive Officer, Chelan Fresh

“I didn’t realize how deeply joy resonated with our growers until I heard them give their own definitions of the word. Although not everyone could be in the room when this decision was made, it clearly represents who we are as a company and the values we hold so dear,” Tom says. “We do what we say we’re going to do, and we want to be known for that. We want to show the consumer that the fruit we are growing brings us joy, and we hope it brings them joy too.”

In speaking with Tom and other members of the Chelan Fresh team, I was challenged to consider my own definition of the word “joy.” As Daniel Gebbers, Domestic Sales Manager, tells me, the term goes so much deeper than happiness.

“‘Happy’ is a temporary feeling. And, a lot of times, you’re happy if something is easy. Something that’s joyful, on the other hand, might be really difficult, but you find joy in doing it. You find joy in that process and in the outcome. And, in our case, we find joy in the success we can give to our employees and our partners,” Daniel explains.

When coming up with the idea for Joyfully Grown, Chelan Fresh aimed to create a brand that extends not just to the fruit it sells, but to the people who grow it. Two of the company’s grower families, the Gebbers and the Bortons, served as inspiration for the brand, exemplifying the values of Joyfully Grown in all they do.

“When you drive around the orchard and talk with the family members, you can just see and feel that joy,” Daniel relays. “There is true joy in what our ownership does and what the growers do. I think, through all of the discussions we had, we really captured that with the Joyfully Grown brand.”

As so many companies do, Chelan Fresh was looking to connect the consumer to the grower through the magic of branding, not just by showing a picture of some nameless farmworker, but by delivering a clear message that resonates.

“Joyfully Grown shows the history and the experience, the attention to detail, and the quality that goes into our products,” adds Julie DeJarnatt, Director of Retail Strategy. “It bridges the gap for the customer who comes in and thinks that apples just appear on their shelves, opening that doorway to the idea that these are real people who get up and choose to do this every single day and honoring what they go through to produce such a consistent, fresh, high-quality piece of fruit.”

That choice, as Julie so beautifully articulates, is the defining aspect of Joyfully Grown. Tom, Daniel, and Julie all communicate this to me in their own words.

“Growing certainly brings us joy, through the good times and the tough times, and it brings us all together. This is especially true during the tough times when we’ve got to persevere and carry on to provide a really good piece of fruit to the consumer, knowing that, ultimately, it brings them joy,” Tom continues. “We take pride in what we do, and Joyfully Grown says a lot about our commitment to providing the best we can to the consumer.”

“...we find joy in the success we can give to our employees and our partners.”

Daniel Gebbers, Domestic Sales Manager, Chelan Fresh

As Daniel reminds me, Joyfully Grown is a consumer-facing brand with the Chelan Fresh stamp of approval. As such, the message communicated to shoppers was of the utmost importance when deciding on the new brand.

“At the core of Joyfully Grown, it demonstrates we’re doing things right—for the environment, for the customers, and for our employees. And, by doing everything right and providing a superior product, it brings us all joy,” Daniel states. “Our hope is that when consumers see the Joyfully Grown brand of apples, pears, and cherries, it gives them a connection to the families that are growing it for them and gives them the assurance that we’re doing things right.”

When I take a step back to let these words sink in, what strikes me is the connection made between the grower and the consumer. While the two may never come face to face, the vehicle that is this effective brand holds a mirror up to each of them—paralleled worlds on the same plane.

“We wanted a brand that was grounded in the foundation of who we are, who our growers are, and has an authentic depiction in the fruit we produce,” Julie purports. “Having something launch on-shelf that looks different from anything people have seen in the produce category brings them in and, hopefully, opens a doorway, helping them understand who it is that’s growing the fruit for them and connecting them to the people behind the brand.”

“We wanted a brand that was grounded in the foundation of who we are, who our growers are, and has an authentic depiction in the fruit we produce.”

Julie DeJarnatt, Director of Retail Strategy, Chelan Fresh

I agree with all three company representatives that the simple and elegant design of the Joyfully Grown brand will not only draw the eye to the shelf, but welcome consumers’ own interpretation of the brand, ultimately creating an intimate experience that is memorable and comforting.

“Joyfully Grown will be easy to recognize and understand because it’s simple. The logo is bright and fresh, and when you read those words, it’s hard not to be joyful or think of joyful things,” Tom tells me. “It’s very simple, and I think it’s going to be something that shoppers remember as they have a good eating experience.”

Consumer purchasing behavior, as Julie explains, is driven by emotion. Think back to what you felt at the beginning of this story. Can you imagine what that would feel like on a sales floor? In your own kitchen?

There is no better word to describe it: Joy.The Snack Endstop

Hear what the growers themselves have to say…

“The brand reminds me of the joy of raising apples and raising children and working on a farm—if you put work in, and you try hard, it will give you back all kinds of things to feel blessed about.”

Gini Grillo, Grillo Orchards

“Joyfully Grown does not mean easy, it means you get joy out of the process and the people you get to work with.”

Byron Borton, Borton & Sons

“Joyfully Grown means farming the same land my great-grandfather started farming in 1912 and sharing those memories, the hard work, and all that goes into it with my family and my kids.”

Eric Borton, Borton & Sons

“Joyfully Grown means I can tell people about my family and our story and how their fruit is coming from somebody who takes a great passion in growing it.”

Reba Guzman, Chelan Fresh/Gebbers Farms

“When I hear Joyfully Grown, I think of everything we go through as a family and all of the friendships made out here, forming a team that brings a product we can be proud of to consumers.”

Hawkins Gebbers, Gebbers Farms