by Dave Sands, Produce Department
Brownfield Orchards grows, harvests, packs, and delivers their premium-quality certified organic fruit directly from their orchard to our produce department.
The alarm goes off as Mike Brownfield wakes up in his house overlooking the orchard below, with the Columbia River just beyond. It’s early morning, and the certified organic fruit orchard near Chelan springs to life as Mike meets the crew at the packing shed nestled in the midst of 46 acres of fruit trees.
Brownfield Orchards, established by Mike’s grandfather, has been growing premium quality fruit for generations. The farm is in operation year-round producing many types of fruit that ripen in succession, thereby enabling the same crew to work throughout the year doing lots of off-season pruning between growing and harvest seasons. Brownfield Orchards is one of the few orchards that directly markets their own fruit, and over the years they have built their own packing facility and cold storage rooms from the ground up.
Produce Managers Dave Sands and Wynne Marks recently visited the farm to meet Mike Brownfield and gather first-hand knowledge about the fruit varieties he grows.
The first fruit to ripen are cherries, which are ready to pick in July. Mike packs the summer delicacies into a 20-pound box with special liners that allow the fruit to breathe and stay fresh during the trip over the mountains and to our stores. Next up are apricots, plums, yellow peaches, and a produce staff favorite—lasting just a short while—donut peaches! So much care and time goes into picking these fruits when ripe and allowing the flavors to fully develop; it’s a truly premium eating experience and we’d like to acknowledge and thank Mike and the entire crew at Brownfield Orchards for providing these jewels of summer stone fruit for our shoppers.
Once the soft fruit wanes, there are 10 apple varieties, including the ever popular Honeycrisp and Pink Lady, and three types of pears that we have to look forward to in the fall.
This summer, when you are shopping for something sweet and fresh, and grown in Washington by expert organic fruit growers, look for signs that say Farmer Direct from Brownfield Orchards in Chelan.