Doing Right in the Orchard

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Since Riveridge began operating in 1990 our marketing, packing and storage practices have leapfrogged ahead of industry norms for sustainability and environmental practices.

For example, our new Riveridge Packing plant opened in 2011, has put a priority on:

  • Fresh air and low-noise environments for employees, by segmenting mechanical equipment apart from most line workers;
  • Low-emission light bulbs;
  • Automated work environment including no-lift box conveyers;
  • Automated waist-high pallet loading equipment.

And Riveridge Land Company is leading the way in sustainability in our orchards with:

  • Native pollinators to assist our rented beehives;
  • Wildflower strips to nurture the native pollinators;
  • Kestrel houses to control bark-chewing rodents;
  • Bat houses to control insects in orchards;
  • Scarecrows to slow bird damage around high-value ripening apples;
  • Orchard spray buffer zones to avoid drift;
  • Grass strips between trees to prevent erosion.

Let’s talk about the birds and bees.

There’s been lots of talk in recent years about a national decline in the quantity of honeybees available to pollinate crops. Is this true?

Yes and no.

Yes, honeybees wintered in the North are having some winter die-off. Current Michigan State University research suggests that a tiny mite or disease causes colony collapse disorder.

Research is ongoing.

And no. Riveridge has plenty of vigorous bees each spring because we rent hives from professional apiarists (beekeepers) who re-stock annually from farm-raised honeybees.

To promote a healthy ecology, Riveridge also buys bumblebees and encourages native pollinators (wild bees) to visit our orchards by planting large patches of spring-flowering wildflowers.

We plant flowering crabapple trees that encourage honeybees and all other pollinators to remain in our orchards.

In short, don’t worry – we’ll get your apples pollinated!

Sustainability Practices