The Fruit Company (through our subsidiary, Webster Orchards) owns numerous orchards that grow varieties of delicious cherries, blueberries, and pears in and around Hood River, Oregon. With the exception of citrus and other non-native varieties, all other fruits showcased in our beautiful gifts are sourced from farms in the Pacific Northwest.
Some of our most popular summer fruits, including peaches, and nectarines, are grown locally at a small, 4th generation family farm near the Columbia River. This nearby partner has been producing premium peaches and nectarines since 1936.
How We Choose our Fruit Vendors
The Fruit Company is always in search of the highest quality growers. Having deep agricultural knowledge ourselves (Webster Orchards has been growing since 1942), we value partnerships with other local, family-owned farms with generational proficiency in producing superb products.
Likewise, companies with whom we do business understand that we know what we’re looking for, and we expect the best. Sometimes we’ll pay above market value for fruits as we never compromise on quality. Still, we’re savvy at obtaining the best rates enabling the savings to be passed to our customers whenever possible, particularly when developing our fantastic gifts.
Stone Fruit in The Fruit Company Gifts
At TFC, we work directly with our suppliers to ensure we receive pristine, unblemished fruit. In the case of peaches, we’re out in the field with our local grower, choosing which trees are harvested and monitor the bucket-picking process.
In contrast, grocery store peaches are mass picked and thrown into large fruit bins for ease of handling, creating unseen pressure bruises. Doing so also limits the maturity of the fruit as only hard, unripe peaches can be thus harvested. Instead, we bucket pick, enabling selection and handling process micro-management. We’re highly selective, considering firmness, color, and other factors which indicate if the peach has been on the tree long enough to capture optimal nutrients and fully develop its sugary goodness.
Once our peaches reach The Fruit Company, we take care to place a soft net sock on each one to protect it from bruising. It then gets put into a gift box or basket along with a bed of excelsior padding and shipped that same day.
How to Know if a Peach or Nectarine is Perfectly Ripe?
With stone fruit like peaches and nectarines, scent and color are the best indicators of ripeness. They likely won’t taste good if they don’t smell sweet or aromatic. Likewise, their overall color and shade will tell you if they’re ready to be picked. However, even if a peach or nectarine appears to be a vibrant color, you’ll want to check carefully they have no signs of greenness, sun spots, or bug bites.
Another way to tell if a peach or nectarine is ready for enjoyment is the simple taste test. Sampling one peach from a tree is a good litmus that adjoining fruits from that same tree have (likely) also developed the right balance of sugar and acidity.
Why Buy From Us?
Bland-tasting fruits and vegetables are unfortunately common in grocery store offerings. Especially in the case of peaches, retail store growers pick peaches way too early. They do so before the fruit can develop the palette-satisfying sugars and nutrients that make peaches so unique. In addition, the shipping, distribution, and sales process of getting peaches and other fruits to the consumer via a traditional grocery store takes weeks.
The experience of eating a grocery store peach is nothing like the enjoyment you get from biting into one of our peaches picked at the perfect ripeness from trees grown in Oregon’s volcanically-enriched soil. More often than not, our fruit is shipped directly to you the same day it was picked.
When’s the Best Time for Peaches and Nectarines?
Right now!! Due to the unusually hot summer in the Pacific Northwest, nectarines are a few weeks behind schedule but are starting to arrive this week. Northwest peaches have been available for a few weeks, and this year’s crop has proven to be particularly juicy. However, the season will only last another week or two, so you’ll want to get yours now – we’re offering free 2-day shipping!
Scott Webster is President & CEO of both Webster Orchards, Inc and TheFruitCompany.com. Webster Orchards has been growing premium fresh fruit in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area since 1942, starting with Scott’s grandfather Roy Webster. The Fruit Company, an online gift retailer, has been packing and shipping beautiful fruit gifts nationwide since 1999. Both headquarters are located in the Hood River Valley, nestled between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.