Rainier Fruit sees continued demand in organic apples
Family-owned-and-operated Rainier has been honing its craft for generations, and that’s why the company has been so successful for more than 120 years.
“At our core, we are apple growers, that’s the foundation of Rainier,” said Blake Belknap, vice president of sales for the Selah, WA-based company. “Of course, we have expanded our acreage and commodities over the years, but it all started with a simple idea: grow the highest quality apples on the market and treat the land and our people with respect. And we maintain that philosophy in all our commodities to this day.”
Rainier Fruit has made long-term investments to its growing operations in recent years, with the goal of preserving the environment for generations to come. Part of those efforts include pressing into growing and shipping more organics, something that the company has been passionate about since the early 1990s.
To grow the best quality organics on the market, Rainier has been acting as a steward of the land. Rainier’s orchards work with nature, with initiatives like planting pollinator habitat to attract local pollinators. As well as a soil amendment program that breaks down culled apples and cuttings from the orchards to create a highly nutritious soil known as humus.
Rainier Fruit also utilizes high-density plantings, this means that there’s up to 3,000 trees per acre, as opposed to the 112-245 trees on traditional sites. The company noted that these types of orchards have numerous sustainability features including saving labor, reducing total land use, improving water efficiency, and making it easier and safer harvest and pruning for employees.
The company has seen great momentum from its year-round organic program that includes the first domestically grown year-round organic Honeycrisp. “Organics have been trending for quite some time and took on new life this past year,” Belknap said. “It’s been great seeing rising consumer demand for a product that we have been passionately growing for three decades.”
Even with an unprecedentedly hot summer, those at Rainier Fruit are looking forward to the upcoming harvest. According to Belknap, their field teams have handled this summer in stride.
“Thanks to our expert field teams, our crop is coming along nicely,” he said. “We will continue to have promotable volumes throughout the year” Belknap concluded.