Rainier Fruit en route to earn Equitable Food Initiative certification
A leader in the apple category with several store brand partners, Rainier Fruit has taken initial steps to certify the company and employees working at facilities that serve its largest farm with more than 2,300 acres to be certified with the Equitable Food Initiative.
EFI provides a comprehensive program with 300 standards focused on worker engagement, satisfaction, labor retention and increased emphasis on food safety. EFI provides third-party certification for the produce industry’s Ethical Charter for Responsible Labor Practices, which in turn has impacted more than 35,000 farmworkers across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America.
More than apples, the Selah, Wash.-based company produces organic cherries and organic blueberries, and training is underway at the facility to officially certify the farm as an EFI-certified establishment, making it the first in the state of Washington.
Employees at the company’s primary facility began with teams going through 40 hours of EFI training to develop skills around conflict resolution, problem-solving and collaboration, and the teams include employees from throughout the company such as operations, management, packaging crew, harvesters and foreign guest workers.
“We have enjoyed working with EFI over the past three years and are excited to formalize our relationship and proceed with certification,” said Mark Zirkle, CEO of Rainier Fruit. “We have always been a company focused on our employees and our processes, but we are also a company rooted in a commitment to excellence, and the EFI program offers a level of shared values and integrity our customers have come to expect from Rainier.”