The annual award is presented to an industry leader who displays leadership, inspiration and innovation on behalf of the entire fruit industry, and is selected by the magazine’s advisory board. Recipients are recognized for being good employers and good stewards of their resources and for their focus on growing quality fruit, as well as their contributions to the success of the tree fruit industry as a whole.

Today, Rainier Fruit is best known as one of the largest suppliers of organic apples, pears, cherries and blueberries from Washington State and as the grower of proprietary varieties like Lady Alice and Junami.

Despite their professional success, Bill & Mark take little credit for company growth. Both men offer a humble assessment of their own skills and acknowledge that the organizational evolution has come from great employees who perpetually propel the business forward with new ideas. “This is a huge effort by a lot of talented people,” Mark said. “Dad and I may strategize for the future but it’s the team…it’s the people who run this place that drive success.” Bill Zirkle nods in agreement, “It’s how you treat your customers, your employees, your co-workers, your neighbors, their families. It makes no difference. It seems like if you do the right thing, it all works out, and in our case, it did.”

Today, Mark continues to look toward the future of Rainier Fruit with a commitment to helping employees and consumers achieve greater well-being through healthy lifestyles and incorporating fresh fruits in their diets. They plan to encourage this lifestyle with their largest marketing program in history which includes a multi-year sponsorship with the Boston Marathon.

“Farming, because of its connection to the land, has always given me a sense of purpose and I take my responsibility of growing healthy fruits seriously,” said Mark Zirkle. I know first-hand how a healthy lifestyle can impact an individual’s future so I’m proud of our organization’s efforts to educate and inspire not only consumers, but also our employees, to fuel their training and their lives with healthy food.” Zirkle finished, “It’s humbling to be given such an honor by Good Fruit Grower magazine. We don’t get up and go to work for the awards or the accolades, we get up and do what we do because we have a responsibility to the people we serve.”

Andy Tudor
Rainier Fruit Company
Tel: 509 731 6160