Community and quality define Washington Fruit Growers
Established in 1916, Washington Fruit Growers stands as a family-owned company with a rich history of growing, packing and shipping apples, pears and cherries to customers worldwide. The company’s enduring commitment to quality is underlined by its embrace of state-of-the-art technologies and advanced horticultural practices.
This year’s apple season has been defined by extremely high quality fruit, with the weather cooperating to ensure it all comes off the tree in the best form possible, said Dan Davis, director of business development. “Harvest has produced some of the best fruit we’ve raised in a while, and the weather is really cooperating to get it all off the tree in the best form possible,” he noted.
While only midway through harvest, Davis expressed confidence in the abundance of opportunities for retailers. “We’re only about mid-way through harvest at this point, and the challenges have yet to really show themselves,” he said. Noting the fruit will be of exceptionally high eating quality and, “lots of opportunity for sure in terms of having the right volume to build displays and merchandise apples prominently.”
As the 2023 season takes off, the addition of Gilbert Orchards is center stage, marking a significant milestone. Davis emphasized the transformative journey the company has undergone in recent years. “We’ll be showcasing what Washington Fruit Growers now represents with the addition of Gilbert Orchards for this coming season,” he said. This strategic addition follows the integration of Roche in 2020. “The changes at Washington Fruit over the last few years, with the additions of Roche in 2020 and now Gilbert, to the powerhouse that Washington Fruit already represented is something we’ll be talking about this whole season,” he said.
The inclusion of generationally additional family-owned entities, such as Gilbert Orchards, sets Washington Fruit apart in the Northwest. “We don’t have to worry about longevity, commitment, or dedication to the industry,” he said. Instead, the company proudly aligns itself with families whose remarkable commitment extends not only to the industry but also to the broader community, creating a sense of pride and fulfillment for all involved.
“The pillars that our entities share are those of innovation, sustainability and efficiency,” he continued. “All the facilities are truly state-of-the-art, with the latest available technologies and in many cases the first of their kind.”
Reflecting on the benefits of doing business with Washington Fruit Growers, Davis mentioned consistency, “but alongside that some of the benefits are our scale and the geographic proximity of that scale.” He underscored the scale of the operation, “Our three apple partners are all within 11 miles of each other in the Yakima valley which allows us to logistically make loading and shipping as efficient as possible,” he said. Six apple lines and two pear lines are packing daily so the company can meet demands across a spectrum of varieties in real time without having to hold fruit in advance of shipment. “The efficiency and velocity that we can generate lead to the shortest possible time between packing and arrival through distribution,” he said.
The collaborative commitment of these family-owned entities resonates throughout Washington Fruit, fostering an environment where industry expertise, community engagement, and a shared dedication to excellence flourish. Davis expressed the collective sentiment, noting, “these families’ commitment to the industry and the community is amazing and is wonderful to be a part of.” As the company embarks on a season marked by these transformative additions, Washington Fruit Growers stands poised to continue a legacy of industry leadership and community stewardship.