One Person’s Cherry Pit is Another Person’s Pavement: Sustainability Success Stories from Oregon Cherry Growers
Oregon Cherry Growers cooperative is made up of around 60 family-owned farms, which are truly sustainable in every way. On and off the fields, we put as much care into cultivating sustainable business practices as we do into cultivating the highest quality, non-GMO fruit products. We believe in reducing waste, conserving our natural resources and enhancing the habitats our fruit orchards share with wildlife.
Some of Oregon Cherry Growers’ most successful sustainability efforts in recent years include:
- Pesticide Reduction
As participants in the Wasco County Watershed Pesticide Monitoring Program, Oregon Cherry Growers carefully monitors and reports pesticide usage and tests samples of all produce for residue of agro-chemicals. Over the past four years, Oregon Cherry Growers has reduced the use of pesticides by 20%, and the Wasco Country Watershed Pesticide Monitoring Program has seen an overall water quality improvement in that same time.How have we reduced pesticide use and still ensured the quality of our products? By exploring natural pest solutions, like welcoming bats, Kestrels, Barn Owls and other natural pest-predators to our orchards!
- Recycling of Processing Byproducts
In addition to ongoing recycling programs for packaging materials, we’ve developed creative programs to reuse all processing materials and reduce waste sent to landfills. For example, Oregon Cherry Growers products average one pit in 300 pounds of ingredient cherry products (which is about 40 pits in one million cherries) – well below the industry standard. But where do all those pits go? Pits are returned to the orchards and applied to roadways to reduce compaction, erosion and to control mud and dust.
- Mulch Repurposing for Earthworm Habitat
Cherry trees have to be pruned each year to allow for sun penetration and new growth. Most of our growers grind or chip the pruned branches to make mulch. The mulch is an ideal habitat for earthworms, who decompose it into a natural fertilizer for the orchards!
Ongoing sustainability efforts like these are not only good for the environment; they’re good for our products. Learn more about our all natural, non-GMO Royal Harvest Natural Maraschinos or Royal Harvest Dried Fruits, or explore our full Oregon Cherry Growers product catalog.