In 1972, Ernie Spada, Sr. started Pride Packing Co.in central Washington and was one of the first companies to adopt the Two Leader growing and pruning technique. This technique is now recognized as an innovative method that lets more sunlight onto the fruit, which increases sugar content and produces sweeter tasting fruit. Because this method also shortens harvest time, the fruit arriving is much fresher than traditionally grown fruit.
Since 1972, Pride Packing Co. has worked to become one of the top 20 stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, and apricots) producers and top 100 apple producers in the United States. Pride Packing Co. is also proud to have the title of being the number one producer in Washington of stone fruit. After building a new state-of-the-art packing and processing facility, complete with controlled atmosphere storage for 500,000 packages, Pride Packing Co. quickly became one of the leaders in their industry and employs more than 600 people on 56 ranches.
With more than 3,000 acres in production and three packing facilities, Pride Packing Co. is continually looking for new varieties of apples and stone fruit. Currently, Pride Packing Co. offers more than a dozen apple varieties, and has plans to increase that number. With all of the newest apple varieties being offered, including the leading apple worldwide, the Honeycrisp, Pride Packing Co. likes to stay on the cutting edge of apple trends both nationally and internationally. Pride Packing Co. also grows several varieties of cherries, peaches, nectarines and pears and currently ships more than 3 million packages of fruit annually to national and international destinations.
Today, Ernie Spada, Sr. is regarded as an expert in the areas of storage, packaging, marketing, and distribution of produce. His passion and expertise regarding the selection of fruit varieties the company grows and his innovative growing techniques continue to shape the way Pride Packing Co. does business.
With over 70 years of industry experience, Ernie Spada, Sr. is a leader in the wholesale trade, as both a grower and a wholesale distributor. Ernie is actively involved with the Washington Stone Fruit Commission.