Rainier Fruit beats the heat, delivers on quality
With recent temperatures soaring into the triple digits, the question on everyone’s mind is fruit quality. As the Northwest cherry deal approaches its peak, retailers can be confident in one thing: Rainier Fruit Co. of Selah, WA, has taken the heat in stride.
“Over the years we’ve made strategic investments throughout our supply chain and production to ensure as much consistency and reliability as possible, in spite of nature’s unpredictability,” said Blake Belknap, vice president of sales for Rainier Fruit.
“You can instantly tell a Rainier cherry orchard or blueberry field by the extensive overhead shade cloth erected each season to protect our summer fruit, that reduces the temperature by 10-15 degrees,” he continued. The company goes even further by running all of its harvested cherries through 34-degree hydrocoolers, which have been deployed in-field in order to remove that heat as quickly as possible. Blueberries are processed through forced air cooling centers right in the field immediately after picking to maintain freshness.
When asked where the best value could be found for retailers and likewise end consumers, Belknap told The Produce News that “‘value’ too often implies aggressive pricing. This is the season that savvy retailers differentiate their ‘value’ in the market by turning away from sub-par fruit and bringing in the kind of quality product that brings eager shoppers back to their stores.”