Washington Fruit recognizes that environmental awareness is an asset in the consideration of any business, especially an agriculturally-based operation such as ours. Abundant water, clean air and fertile soil enable Washington Fruit to be a sustainable business. We have partnered with our suppliers and associates to provide an environmentally friendly footprint to better our world for generations to come.
Washington Fruit’s detailed IPM programs won the 2012 Apple Grower of the Year Award for setting a standard in IPM. Our team supports IPM with the aid of natural beneficials, biologicals and organic inputs. We promote a synergistic partnership needed to improve the sustainability of our farms, their ecosystems and the food from them. The safety of our community, bees, the environment and humans are prioritized throughout the IPM process.
As part of our commitment to sustainable sourcing, we foster constructive long-term relationships with suppliers that share our focus on environmentally responsible and sustainable business practices. Our supplier of box material uses recycled paper products which are compliant with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The volume of paper in each box has also been reduced to help push sustainability even further. Any waste cardboard or paper products are collected and recycled at our tray and pad supplier. Our supplier uses recycled material to manufacture top pads, poly bags and layer pads. Smartly sourcing materials ensures we will reduce waste and help sustain a healthy environment.
Incorporating sustainable agricultural techniques for soil health will enable Washington Fruit to meet customer’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations. Soil is a mixture of minerals, air, water and organic materials. We promote healthier soil life by planting cover crops to build soil biomass. Our non-till practices include mowing, chipping, and recycling most plant matter. Decomposing plant parts add organic matter to the soil which improves structure and helps retain water. These natural inputs reduce the dependency on synthetic fertilizers which produces higher soil quality without a negative environmental impact.
Conservation and stewardship are highly important to Washington Fruit, as we understand conserving natural resources will enable our operation to sustain far into the future. Water conversation is strictly enforced on company-owned ranches and our packing line. Micro-sprinklers, drip-irrigation systems and soil moisturizing probes are used to minimize energy and water waste. Grass is planted between rows to minimize soil erosion, and grass clippings are kept in the orchard rows as mulch and fertilizer to increase water retention. A constant supply of fresh water is required for safe and sanitary operation of our packing line; however, we designed our line around the framework of conservation. Our low-volume nozzles and high-pressure, high volume rinse system conserves water through recirculation and allocation.