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February 3, 2009

California Stonefruit company wins IPM award

American/Western Fruit Grower
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FreshSense LLC, a company launched by stone fruit growers Fowler Packing Co., SunWest Fruit Co., and Ballantine Produce Co. to more effectively and efficiently build specific brands in the U.S. and abroad, has been recognized as an IPM Innovator by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The Parlier, CA-based company currently provides consumer research, marketing strategies, promotion, and quality standards and practices for three brands grown in California’s Central Valley: Ripe ’n Ready, Treehouse Kids, and Zeal, an eco-label targeting socially and environmentally conscious consumers. All Zeal and Treehouse Kids fruit is certified by Protected Harvest, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable agricultural practices. The organization certifies growers for “green” production practices by documenting that a product has met environmentally sound and scientifically based soil, water, and pesticide standards. In addition, FreshSense is working with local water authorities to build natural stone weirs in its foothill orchards to help filter water runoff from the hills before it reaches streams and rivers. This practice will be added to Protected Harvest’s standards in the future. FreshSense is also developing a global positioning system (GPS) that will carefully monitor pest populations in its orchards and minimize the use of pesticides. Field trials are just being developed for this GPS that would enable growers to treat hot spots before a pest problem gets worse. For more information on FreshSense, click here to read an article from American/Western Fruit Grower’s June 2008 issue.