I recently had a chance to visit Starr Ranch® Growers organic apple orchards in Yakima, Washington. I learned so much about what it takes to grow organic apples, and I was pretty amazed at the attention to every single detail.
Organic farmers are part of a passionate group who want to contribute to the health and wellbeing of farming in the world, not only at their own farms. The fifth-generation farmer Sean Gilbert who showed me around has been farming for his whole life. He learned about it as a young boy with his father, who was growing organically since the ‘80s. He, like his father, wants to work with the plants and animals and grow in concert with nature. There’s something to be said about a family who works together, and this one has definitely been growing together, too!
What I really loved about this visit was learning about the use of natural elements, such as insects and fertilizers, all of which helps the rich, healthy quality of the soil. The idea of sustainability to Sean, and all organic farmers with Starr Ranch® Growers, is paramount. An important part of the Starr Ranch® philosophy is to take care of the entire ecosystem of the farm, not just the apples. For example, when farming organically, you can only use natural fertilizers, like compost, as it has to be natural and derived from whatever was already here in the Earth. Insects are either challenging or beneficial and Starr Ranch® Growers work together to keep away damaging pests. When they found themselves with a sever aphid problem, the extra ladybugs were the true superheroes at this organic apple orchard! This is what it truly means to be a steward of the land!
The apples grown here are delivered to Starr Ranch® Growers’ packing facility, where they are cared for, washed and sorted, carefully packed and sent to our grocery stores across the USA. All of the different varieties of them are so naturally sweet and delicious, and the smell of them truly makes your mouth water. The taste profile varies per variety, but you’ll always find a crisp, sweet and sometimes tangly flavor.
It was inspiring and reassuring to learn what Starr Ranch® Growers is all about, and witnessing how they are taking care of the land, their family of farmers, and the apples that they all grow made me more passionate about apples than ever before. They are growing in a way we all can feel great about, and that’s the core truth! See you on a farm.