Peter Verbrugge – Valley Fruit Orchards
Peter Verbrugge is a third generation grower in the Yakima Valley. Together with his family, Peter owns and manages over 2,000 acres of apples, pears and cherries. They also own storage, packing and shipping facilities in Wapato, Washington. These facilities distribute over 2 million boxes of apples and pears, and over 1 million boxes of cherries per year.
Peter grew up on the Verbrugge home orchard, which his grandfather bought during the depression. He graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991 with a B.A. in Business/Economics. After graduation, he began working in the family business just as the in-house sales desk at Valley Fruit began to take off. Peter worked on the sales desk until 1995 when he became General Manager of the warehouse, Valley Fruit. It was then that he was put in charge of the packing and storage operations. By 1999, he recognized the rapid changes within the industry, and he formed a new marketing organization, Sage Fruit Company, with two other partners.
As his father began to transition towards retirement, Peter was named CEO of Valley Fruit in 2004 while still overseeing Sage Fruit. He is now the President of the board of Sage Fruit Company, and still assists with customer and supplier relations.
Peter has also been instrumental in the development of the Washington Apple Education Foundation and he currently serves on the Washington State Fruit Commission which markets the cherries and stone fruits for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah.
He and his wife Staci have three children. Peter has traveled extensively for pleasure, marketing and to learn about other growing regions and cultures of the world. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, skiing, tennis, golf and participating in his kids’ activities.