Independent Growers of Washington & Oregon are defined as growers who strictly grow fruit. These growers are primarily smaller growers with fruit ranging anywhere from approximately 20 to 8000 bins of fruit. At harvest time they bring their fruit to a warehouse to be marketed, packed, sold and shipped. This allows them to do what they do best... grow fruit.
Holtzinger Fruit has Independent Growers in many counties in Washington and Oregon, counties highlighted in red show where Holtzinger apples are grown.
Adolfo Alvarez produces premium, first to market organic apples and cherries. Recognized as an achieved expert in organic farming techniques, Adolfo's consistently receives accolades on both taste and quality of his organic produce. With a dedicated passion to organic farming, Adolfo has made trips to Chile to learn from other growers. Today, growers from all over the globe visit and learn from Adolfo Alvarez Farms and he is a desired lecture, speaking on organic farming techniques to colleges and peers.
Studying the intricacies of the orchard's ecosystem and learning from his observations has contributed to his success. "Everything you need is right here – provided by nature". Adolfo refers to his biological controls as "an army" in his fight to produce delicious, pest-free fruit. "There are good soldiers and bad soldiers," Adolfo says, referring to both the insects he must control to avoid infestation and the others he relies upon for controlling potential pests. "You have to protect the good ones, if you’re going to be successful."
Adolfo’s keen sense of protecting the next generation drives his intense passion for land stewardship and for farming organically. He works closely with Natural Resources Conservation Service. "NRCS programs are there to help the next generation," he says, "not just our own. And I certainly want to leave this land better than when I bought it."
Adele and Hamley Hale farm in the Wapato, Washington area. Their crops include hay, corn, grapes and apples. Adele is a fourth generation grower. Her Grandfather and Father were among the first to grow grapes in the Wapato area. For many years Hamley has worked outside the home and Adele has managed the orchards. In the beginning it could be rather daunting, sometimes being the only woman in mandatory classes to keep up-to-date on USDA sprays. Hamley related, “We have three of the most wonderful kids – ever - due to farm life. They have good work ethics. But you really have to want this kind of life. It’s a lot of hard work with time and dedication involved. You’re on a gamble in the spring. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and then your crop can be wiped out instantly.” Hamley and Adele hope one day their son Piper and his family will take over the reins of their family orchards and continue to grow food to for the world.
With a typical work day that begins at 6 am and ends around 8 pm, Mike Rowley says “It’s not tough when you love what you do” A fifth generation farmer, born and raised on the property he farms today. Just as his father passed the reins to him, Mike hopes to some day pass the traditions to his son Landon and continue the family business for many years to come.
On his 750 acre farm Mike grows a variety of apples including Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Fuji and Granny Smith along with sweet & tart cherries, soft fruits, apricots, nectarines, berries and pears.
Sergio Marquez began farming at seventeen years old. Immigrating from Bajarochan, Mexico he began his farming career as a general labor and progressed to a supervisor. After several years of farming, he was able to purchase the ranch he had been farming.
Sergio now farms 106 acres of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji and Honey Crisp apples. Sergio is always looking to expand and hopes one day to have another 100 acres to farm.