Rainier Fruit delivers on organic blueberry quality, consistency
- by Adam Campbell | June 25, 2020
Growth in the organic blueberry category has been significant over the past several seasons, and Rainier Fruit Co. based in Selah, WA is poised to make the most of it. The fifth-generation, family-owned -and-operated grower, packer, shipper has a foundation rooted in the soil — literally and figuratively.
“Organic blueberries have been one of the fastest-growing categories for several years and have only boosted even more so during the recent consumer behavior shifts. More than ever, health-conscious consumers are looking for nutrient-dense convenient snacks and fresh ingredients to add to their favorite staples,” said Tyler Johnson, blueberry commodity manager for Rainier Fruit.
“At Rainier, we have been around for five generations and want to foster practices that will support those to come,” he continued. “Stewardship is one of our primary tenents as a company; we’ve been entrusted with maintaining our lands not just for ourselves but our neighbors, children and all future generations.”
The company’s blueberry operation is on track to become Bee Better Certified in July 2020. “The need to sustain the environment and the organisms that call it home is crucial to that goal, which makes involvement in programs like Bee Better Certified a natural choice.” said Johnson. Collaborating with the Xerces Society, Rainier Fruit planted nearly 150 acres of pollinator-friendly wildflowers across multiple ranches to help attract, protect, and sustain native pollinators. Johnson also noted that the Bee Better Certified seal also gives confidence to source-conscious consumers that their purchasing decisions benefit conservation-minded companies.
“By building new habitats and limiting threats, such as pesticides, the team at Rainier Fruit is creating resilient farming systems that benefit pollinators and many other beneficial insects they rely on,” said Cameron Newell, Bee Better Certified program coordinator. “We are proud of the habitat work that Rainier has done across many of their ranches and we are excited to see them embrace Bee Better Certified.”
The company plans on expanding the certification to cover not only their organic blueberries, but additional crops in their portfolio as well throughout coming seasons.
As consumers make fewer store trips and change their buying habits, success means something different for every retailer. As consumers grow excited for a taste of summer, Rainier is ready to help set up their partners for another great season. One hundred percent of its organic blueberries are grown in micro-climates across Eastern Washington to grow high-quality berries of the latest genetics.
“At Rainier, we understand every minute counts to maintain longevity of shelf life, maximize quality, and drive repeat purchases for the retailer, which is why from field to grocery, our berries travel through an unbroken cold chain that protects their firmness and flavor,” said Johnson. ”All the work put into our certifications, rigorous growing practices, and hyper-focused cold chain program allows us to have the same consistent quality year over year and we expect no different from the 2020 crop.”
Rainier will ship its organic blueberries in clamshells June through September 2020.