About 23% of Sage Fruit Co. LLC's product is organic, says Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing. ( Courtesy Sage Fruit Co. LLC )

About 23% of the fruit produced by Sage Fruit Co. LLC, Yakima, Wash., is organically grown, and that makes Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing, a happy man.

“We’re growing and keeping up with everything,” he said. “We’re excited about where our organic program is heading.”

A new addition to the company’s organic program is a 2-pound pouch bag that now is available for several apple varieties.

There’s also an organic bin along with poly bags and bulk product.

Sage Fruit Co. has offered organic fruit for about four years, increasing from 100,000 boxes to more than 1.5 million, Sinks said.

The program started with a few varieties of apples, then expanded into peaches, nectarines and more apple varieties.

Offering organic items is a must these days because of heavy demand from retail customers, he said.

“In order to have a successful program, you need to have a full line of organic,” Sinks said.

The company set out to become a full line supplier on all of its products by transitioning some conventional orchards and adding new acreage.

Growth of the organic program has not stopped.

“(Organic) seems to keep growing in popularity,” Sinks said.

Organic sales are up among all consumers, he said, including millennials.

“They’re doing their fair share of shopping,” he said.

The 20-year-old company sells to conventional grocery stores as well as those that specialize in organic produce, he said.

Its organic product line includes braeburn, fuji, gala, golden delicious, granny smith, Honeycrisp, jonagold, Pink Lady and red delicious apples; bartlett, bosc, anjou and red anjou pears; and, in the stone fruit category, apricots, peaches and nectarines.

“We have really good quality and a really good overall organic program,” Sinks said.

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