Washington Fruit & Produce Co. is a family-owned business that has been operating in the Yakima Valley region of Washington State for over a century. Founded in 1916 by Fred Plath, the company started as a farm and warehouse to grow, pack, and ship tree fruit. Today, the company is a leading tree fruit producer and distributor, with operations spanning thousands of acres of orchards, packing houses, and storage facilities across the Yakima Valley and Greater Central Washington.

Currently led by the third and fourth generation of the Plath family, Washington Fruit is well-regarded for its dedication to quality, innovation, and sustainability. As a vertically-integrated company, with state-of-the-art orchards, advanced packing houses, and temperature-controlled storage facilities, they are able to control the entire process from farm to market, ensuring the highest quality and freshness for its customers.
The company has implemented multiple innovative practices to reduce its environmental impact, including using natural methods to control pests and diseases and implementing water conservation strategies. Additionally, the company is committed to giving back to the community, with a focus on supporting education, healthcare, and local organizations.

photo of gilbert plat

Early Fruit-Sizing Before Spectre

Before Spectre, our ranch managers would weigh about ten apples every day or every other day leading up to harvest. The sample would end up being about 30 or 50 apples in total, and probably not that on most occasions. In the end, getting that information all the way back to the sales team was almost not worth it because of the time it took and because nobody really trusted the sizing sample.
The apples would be sized when we did QC samples and determined the maturity of the fruit. However, the sizing was more to get a general idea, like, is the fruit big this year? With Spectre, we’ve been able to get that information to sales instantly and give them a very accurate picture of the fruit that’s coming off the trees and is going to be packed soon.
Relying on field samples that are far smaller than what we get with Spectre, or even the word of the farmer, who thinks his fruit is a little bit bigger or smaller this year, was not ideal. Spectre has removed that blind spot we had at the beginning of the season.

Early Fruit-Sizing Before Spectre

Spectre enables us to sample around 1,000 apples per block each day and share the data with the sales team for prompt selling.

At Washington Fruit, we utilize Spectre in our orchard’s loading areas to obtain size and color information about the fruit. Typically, every day that we are picking, we use Spectre to sample ten bins from each block. In total, we sample about 100 apples per bin with Spectre, which means we sample about 1,000 apples per block each day.
The data provided by Spectre is particularly useful at the start of the packing season when we lack historical data on the fruit. With Spectre, we quickly find out the size distribution of the block. The information Spectre provides is then shared with our sales department so they can get to work selling the fruit before we’ve even packed it.

Efficient, Seamless, and Accurate Technology

Spectre enables us to sample around 1,000 apples per block each day and share the data with the sales team for prompt selling.

Spectre offers many benefits that have been significant for our company. Firstly, it is incredibly fast and efficient to use. For example, sampling ten bins with Spectre only takes two minutes tops, and we receive the data instantly.
Another advantage is that Spectre is very easy to incorporate and follow through on without requiring any significant changes to our routine. For instance, as part of my routine, I visit different farms and growers, where I walk around the loading areas to check the quality of the fruit. Now I can do all that, while also snapping a picture with Spectre to get an instant size and color profile.
We are also very impressed by Spectre’s accuracy. In the three years we have been using Spectre, we have not experienced any significant inaccuracies and have only become more and more impressed.
The sales team also benefits from Spectre’s fast and accurate information, as it allows for faster sales, while also ensuring that packhouse inventory is kept at a minimum.

Because Spectre is so quick and simple to use, it’s very easy to incorporate into our daily routine.

Implementation & Usability

Spectre’s data can be easily integrated into our system, and implementation is a breeze.

With Spectre, it is not only extremely quick and easy to capture a sample and get the results, but it also works exceedingly well with our internal processes. We get a data export from Spectre every morning with the previous day’s information, which plugs straight into our system. From there, we get a projection of the size of each lot or block in each room that we’ve got, which goes straight to the sales team.

More Than Just Support

What sets Hectre apart is their genuine interest in understanding our needs and the exceptional support, which are both crucial when implementing new technology.

The support we receive from the Hectre team is exceptional. Whenever we have a question, they are quick to respond and resolve any issues. This level of support is crucial when implementing any new technology, especially when users are still learning how to use it. We have had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth, Omar, and Ali, who have all been spectacular in their support.
One of the things that sets Hectre apart is their genuine interest in understanding our needs and addressing any issues we encounter. We appreciate the open communication we have had with the team at Hectre in identifying areas where we can get the most value from the platform and addressing any challenges we face. Our collaboration with Hectre has been highly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing our successful relationship.

Supercharge your fruit

If you would like to learn how Hectre’s award winning fruit technologies can support the success of your business, please connect with us.