Where We Grow
Where We Farm our World Famous Organic Stone Fruit
The special locale where Artisan Organics™ peaches and nectarines grow is the biggest reason that we’re able to farm these fruits organically. Our entire crop of peaches and nectarines, and most of our apricots, are grown and certified organic. They grow in Washington’s southcentral region near the Tri Cities and Mattawa, where the summers are hot, nights are cool, and the landscape resembles a desert.
Summer fruits love the heat and that’s how they gain all their sugars and juice. They also need cool nights to develop vibrant colors and store energy to grow to be big sizes and full of flavor. The dry climate makes controlling pesky pests easier on farmers and allows organic farming methods to flourish.
The Tri Cities area is surrounded by three major rivers, the Columbia, Snake and Yakima, which provide fresh water for our organic summer fruits. Our growing regions experience four true seasons and that is a crucial element in growing large and flavorful summer fruits organically.
How We Grow
Just like other our other tree fruits, having true four seasons helps with growing Artisan Organics™ peaches, nectarines, and apricots. In the winter, cold temperatures put the trees into a deep hibernation-like sleep called dormancy. This stage is crucial as it helps trees gain energy for the busy growing season ahead.
When the snow melts away, apricot bloom is the first to pop off the trees in March. Peaches and nectarines are close behind and blossom before cherries, apples and pears. Springtime plays an important role for our summer fruit crop as the weather can dictate the yield of the crop. It’s a time when farmers may need to protect bloom from cold temperatures and frost. They do this with orchard heaters, wind machines, and other methods.
When the summer days roll around, our Artisan Organics™ summer fruits start harvest. Apricots are harvested daily from late June through July. Peaches and nectarines are harvested closely after starting in late July and wrapping up in late September. Picking fruits that are tree-ripened is our priority when it comes to harvest. Each fruit is picked by hand at just the right time. For peaches and nectarines, that means we may go into the same orchard four or five times to pick the fruit when it’s ripe.
After the busy season of harvest settles, fall is a time for the trees to relax. Compost is laid to give the trees the necessary nutrients to flourish through the winter season. The tree’s leaves begin to turn color and fall off the tree and prepare themselves for the cold winter ahead.
Summer fruits are much like cherries in that, once harvested, it’s a race against the clock to get them packed and shipped and off to your stores. A bin of fruit is placed on our packing line and flows through the different stages of the line through a water channel. Because we are packing Artisan Organics™ fruits, our facility is certified for organic packing and we work daily to uphold the organic packing standards.
We rinse and wash the fruits with a food-grade certified-organic soap before rinsing again and then drying the fruit thoroughly. Next, we sort the fruit based on its quality, removing obvious bad pieces of fruit. Next, these fruits run through a machine that takes their photos to sort them by size, color and quality. This sends them to the right destination, where they are hand-packed into bags, clamshells, or stickered and then packed into a panta-style carton.
The packing process happens very quickly for our stone fruits so that you can enjoy Artisan Organics™ peaches, nectarines, and apricots at their very best.