( Photo and logo courtesy Rainier Fruit; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Rainier Fruit Co. is on track to earn Bee Better certification for Washington blueberries in July 2020.

The fifth generation is running the family-owned operation, and it's Rainier Fruit’s goal to sustain that for more generations.

“The need to sustain our fields and pollinators is crucial to that goal, which makes involvement in programs like Bee Better Certified a natural choice, as well as an exciting one,” Mark Zirkle, president of Zirkle Fruit Co., said in a news release.

The Bee Better Certified program ensures pollinator habitats are created and maintained.

“It’s pretty simple; if we don’t protect the bees, we don’t have fruit to sell,” Tyler Johnson, Rainier Fruit’s blueberry commodity manager, said in the release.

To attract, protect and sustain pollinators, nearly 150 acres of wildflowers were planted in collaboration with the Xerces Society over the past three years.

“We are proud of the habitat work that Rainier has done across many of their ranches, and we are excited to see them embrace Bee Better Certified,” Cameron Newell, Bee Better Certified program coordinator, said in the release.

Rainier Fruit’s certification will cover blueberries and expand to other crops.

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