Apr. 21, 2023

Dedication to Sustainability

Earth Day is here once again! At Superfresh Growers, our dedication to sustaining the land is a critical focus in everything we do, from our farming practices to our packaging design, water usage, packing facilities, community involvement, and everywhere in between. ⁠ “Sustainability drives everything we do at Superfresh Growers,” says CEO Robert Kershaw. With a sustainability team dedicated to finding and implementing sustainable practices throughout the company, our priority is preserving the land for generations.

Here are a few key ways we are dedicated to sustainability:

  • In our orchards, we leverage integrated pest management (IPM). By implementing IPM, we use good bugs to fight the bad. Lacewing, ladybugs, spiders, and parasitic wasps all prey on aphids and other pests, minimizing reliance on insecticides. Pheromone inhibitors disrupt insects’ reproductive cycles, deterring codling moths and other unwanted pests. The hot days and cool nights of Central Washington prevent pests, fungus, and disease, creating an ideal environment to grow organics and reduce inputs for conventional fruit.

Ladybugs are an extremely beneficial insect for our Superfresh orchards.

  • We have multiple programs in place to protect our pollinators. We cultivate ground cover plants that feed essential nutrients into our orchards and create pollinator habitats for bees and other insects that make up our biodiverse orchards. We are avid conservationists, protecting our regionally unique shrub-steppe ecosystem surrounding many of our orchards. It is home to many native species not found anywhere else in Washington State (WDFW). We are also actively building pollinator gardens in our workspaces that support pollinator habitats and create beautiful break areas for our employees. Creating these habitats helps naturally increase beneficial insects in our orchards and assists in IPM efforts.

Cindy Pascua of our accounting team assists in planting native plants in one of our Yakima pollinator gardens.

  • Investments in autonomous electric vehicles in our orchards and production lines reduce our carbon footprint and help ease the pain of labor shortages. Through multiple energy efficiency projects, our kilowatt-hour reductions (Kwh) have been reduced by 7 million in 2022. This is equivalent to 4,932 metric tons of CO2 relieved.
  • We are converting existing orchards and new plantings to conservative irrigation systems. We are all about precision farming. We use cutting-edge technology to monitor and use water only when needed. Each model is specifically designed around the variety. The conversion from sprinklers to misters has been incredibly successful. We will continue transitioning our orchards from older sprinklers to misters as soon as possible. So far, water usage has been cut by nearly 60% in the orchard blocks we’ve converted.
  • Orchard blocks have solar-powered stations that evaluate soil moisture, soil temperature, ambient air temperature, weather, solar radiation, humidity, wind direction, and speed. This information model better manages canopy conditions, pests, disease, frost risk, and water optimization.
  • We are deploying shade systems that drastically reduce water used for overhead cooling and reduce tractor trips previously used to apply sunburn defense products. This further reduces our carbon footprint and reduces soil compaction within our orchards.
  • We invest heavily in compost to build organic matter and, ultimately, the physical health of the soil. This reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and herbicides and improves tree health.

While sustainable practices are a Superfresh priority 365 days a year, Earth Month is when we expand our sustainable efforts beyond the orchard, warehouse, and packaging to be stewards of the land in our community. For the second year in a row, we partnered with the Yakima Greenway to assist in improving community spaces. These tasks included pruning overgrown trees around the pathway and spreading mulch in a local park area.

We look forward to continuing our sustainability efforts throughout the year in our community and company!

Maria Saucedo of our Human Resources team helps clean up some overgrown trees.