A Fieldman acts as the liaison between outside growers and Washington Fruit & Produce Co. (WFP). It is expected they maintain regular communication between growers, company management, and warehouse operations. As a Fieldman, one should manage relationships with existing growers, ensure fruit is grown to WFP standards, and coordinate harvest timing/logistics, all while pursuing new growers and seeking opportunities to handle additional fruit.
- Behave as the primary contact between WFP and the grower.
- Ensure fruit is grown, harvested, and received according to WFP standards.
- During harvest, perform quality control (QC) field sampling to ensure condition of fruit meets WFP Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Storage criteria (see chart below).
- Assist Warehouse and Sales with the coordination of early pool eligibility. Ensure entry into early pools is reasonable and split between outside growers and WFP captive tonnage.
- Provide WFP with reliable annual estimates in regard to the expected volume of a grower’s apple and/or cherry crop.
- Inform Sales and Warehouse of grower harvest schedules and quantities to be received. Update harvest flow calendars daily to best reflect picking schedules, no less than 4 days in advance. Provide Warehouse and Sales accurate and up-to-date crop/harvest data.
- Communicate relevant information from WFP to grower in a timely manner.
- Keep a daily field journal composed of tasks performed, growers visited, insights of their crop, or other pertinent information that is useful for WFP.
- Attended weekly Field Staff Lunches (Tuesdays), followed by the Fieldmen meeting. Provide field journal notes for the week and give updates on all assigned growers.
- Obtain WFP required documentation from a grower: Organic certifications, food safety certifications and audit reports, documents needed for export, and any other necessary forms WFP needs to handle outside fruit.
- After harvest, perform routine QC in warehouse to aid packing decisions on what CA rooms should to be opened and what apples should be packed next.
- Advise grower on horticultural decision making: Pruning, training, thinning, harvest procedures, CA allocation, etc.
- Assist grower with securing reliable hauling/trucking for their fruit. (WFP does not provide hauling).
- Coordinate the distribution of empty bins from warehouse to grower farms, confirming quantities taken adhere to WFP preseason bin retrieval protocols.
- Maintain regular communication with other Fieldmen so growers are provided uniform direction from WFP.
- Hold a clean driving record with no more than two infractions within a three year period.
- Attend tree fruit industry conferences and educational seminars.
- Harvest timing for cherries: Assess color of cherries and advise grower on when to pick. Monitor brix levels, size profiles, and fruit condition.
- Harvest timing for apples: Assess color and maturity of apples (starch testing). Advise grower on when to pick and the placement of their fruit into CA storage.
- Reject fruit in the field if it does not meet WFP standards: Mildew on cherries, poor maturity/fruit condition, etc.
- Manage personal schedule so that all grower’s and WFP’s needs are met.
- (Preferred) Bachelor’s degree.
- 5 years + experience in tree fruit and horticulture.
- Must have excellent time management skills.
- Have a working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Google sheets.
- Able to operate a penetrometer (pressure testing), refractometer (brix testing), scale, and starch test apples.
- Have a general understanding of industry technology and agricultural equipment.
- Able to and willing to drive long distances or sit in a truck for long periods.
- Able to work outside in harsh weather conditions and walk on uneven/unstable ground.