Environmental Stewardship in Our Orchards
Domex Superfresh Growers are stewards of the land committed to conservation, resource management and sustainability all the while dedicated to growing safe and nutritious fruit. We manage all operations on our farms with a focus to sustain resources for future farming generations. Food safety is a critical component of our environmental commitment. One of our most important tools for delivering safe food and nutritious fruit is our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to managing the pests that seek to destroy our crops. Using IPM protocols, we measure and monitor the population densities and life cycles of both harmful pests and beneficial insects. We also use mating disruption techniques that allow us to control certain pest populations like Codling Moth in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
Water is our most critical natural resource. We closely monitor weather, crop stage and soil moisture using highly-sensitive instruments inside each orchard in order to apply the precise amount of water for maximum fruit production. This careful monitoring of irrigation application reduces the use of fertilizer and assures ground water purity by eliminating runoff.
Healthy soil is vital to the proper nutrition and growth of our fruit. Extensive soil sampling is conducted to determine our crop nutrient needs. We precisely balance fertilizer applications with crop load and tree growth to maximize yield and reduce inputs. By using slow-release nitrogen to feed the trees as water is applied, we reduce the number of trips through the field, using less fuel and reducing our carbon foot print.
Utilities Conservation - Over the past decade we have participated in Pacific Power’s energy savings program, wattsmart, during the planning and construction phases of our facilities which has enabled us to save thousands of watt hours in energy. One of our most impactful energy savings has come by retrofitting our cold storage facilities with variable speed fans.
Package Sourcing - Domex Superfresh Growers is committed to using the most sustainable packaging available. We source packaging from local manufacturers compliant with certification bodies such as the Sustainable Forest Initiative and the American Forestry and Paper Association. Packaging produced in compliance with these programs is sourced responsibly with a dedicated focus on recycled materials.
Package Recycling - All corrugated boxes we use contain at least 40% recycled fibers. Discarded boxes are crushed and returned to the manufacturer where they are recycled into various packaging products such as apple packing trays and box liners. Mesh and poly bags are made from food grade virgin resins only, while discarded bags are recycled to create other types of bags like garbage can liners. Our rigid plastic containers, commonly called clamshells, are made from 70% recycled plastic drink bottles.
Packaging Efficiencies - By creating strategic partnerships with vendors we now build 97.6% of our own boxes from flat stock on site instead of having to rely on pre-made boxes to be delivered. Previously our cartons were made off site and delivered empty to our facility. Our current process decreases fuel consumption and enables us to employ a just-in-time inventory system, further reducing waste.
Additional technological advancements have enabled us to install new automated apple bagging and packing machinery that increases our productivity, efficiency and adds an increased ability to produce additional packaging options.
Warehouse Management System
Facility Upgrades – Domex Superfresh Growers continuously evaluates and upgrades its operations to incorporate new technology and more efficient equipment and processes. In 2013 we added a newly constructed packed box facility that bolstered our storage capability allowing us greater flexibility and efficiency in meeting customer needs by allowing more fruit to be consolidated and loaded on-site, reducing the need for trucks to make multiple stops when picking up orders.
A new state-of-the-art inventory management system implemented in the fall of 2013 enables us to track in real time each pallet of fruit. This detailed inventory location information means our forklift drivers don’t use excess propane trying to locate product in our storages.
Logistical Innovation - Our efforts in creating a proprietary logistical software called the “Grid™ ”enables us to efficiently manage the inter-warehouse hauling required to consolidate loads for our customers. The Grid™ provides us with real-time truck loading information so we make the best transportation decisions daily and reduce the need to make multiple trips between warehouses.