Washington Fruit’s Cherry facility uses state-of-the-art optics to be an industry leader in cherry packing. The facility, opened in 2014 is located at the North end of the main complex in Yakima, Washington. It is designed for optimum food safety and produce traceability. The building is designed with conduit and cabling running below the floor as well as recess mounted LED lights throughout. This eliminates areas for dust collection and allows Washington Fruit to maintain one of the cleanest facilities in the industry. The equipment inside has been hand selected to provide very gentle fruit handling and also to deliver a consistent product day in and day out.
From beginning to end, the cherry line is built with stainless steel to minimize food safety risks. The line, built by Unitec, has one of the newest optical sorters in the industry. Using images from a series of cameras, the software can sort cherries by color, size, defects, and for firmness to ensure that our finished product meets our grade standards. A final sort is done to ensure each carton meets our grade standard.
Washington Fruit maintains an SQF 2000 Level III Certification for food safety and quality. In order to achieve this level the food processing facility is continuously analyzed for potential safety and quality hazards. Controls have been put in place to reduce potential hazards, and to maintain the safest work environment for food handling and processing.
To ensure the highest level of produce traceability, a unique barcode number is stamped on every box packed. An internal database stores information for each case, such as the barcode, the time of packing as well as the orchard the fruit came from. With the use of warehouse management software along with a racking structure, Washington Fruit is able to trace these barcodes from each case throughout the warehouse. This system also tracks the location and shipping destination for each individual box.
Washington Fruit and Produce Co.’s Cherry processing facility continues the tradition of designing warehouses to optimize both food safety and quality. Computer controlled and operated equipment ensures consistent quality standards that are at the top of the industry. Integrated with wireless equipment and barcode scanning, Washington Fruit is a leader in produce traceability now, and will continue to be in the future.