A Message to Our Community
Like all of you, we at Naturipe are saddened by Sunday’s passing of Honesto Silva Ibarra, a guest worker at one of our suppliers, Sarbanand Farms. Privacy laws restrict what authorities can share regarding his death, and as a result there have been several media stories with inaccurate and misleading information.
Here is what we do know:
Mr. Silva reported to work as usual the morning of Wednesday, August 2, 2017. There were no visible indications that he had any health issues and he did not tell any supervisors that he felt ill. Sarbanand Farms did not become aware that Mr. Silva was ill until his nephew brought him to the office later that day. The company quickly called 911 and Mr. Silva was taken directly by ambulance to the hospital.
Owners and managers of the farm have been in close contact with Mr. Silva’s family members and they have provided our managers with additional information about his health issues, and to verify the facts surrounding Mr. Silva’s death. The family also wanted to transport Mr. Silva’s body back to Mexico, the cost of which is being paid by the company.
Sarbanand Farms also remains in compliance with all guest worker visa programs. There have been issues raised about expired visas for some workers at the farm. The truth is that, as required by law, the company timely filed applications with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services at the beginning of July to extend visas for all of these workers.
Managers at Sarbanand Farms distributed written employment policies and procedures for registering complaints in both English and Spanish to all workers at the beginning of the harvest season. The company has held numerous meetings with workers throughout the season to review these procedures, and to encourage workers to report any problems or concerns they may have had.
The workers who walked off the job unexpectedly and abruptly in mid-season put Sarbanand Farms’ business in jeopardy. The farm felt it had no choice but to terminate their employment, as is appropriate under state and federal law, and in accordance with the H2A contract provisions.
Meanwhile, Sarbanand Farms is working with the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries to keep open the lines of communications with the workers who left. Sarbanand Farms has assured us that all workers will be paid for their work, and that it has offered to pay for their safe return home.
We know that Sarbanand Farms has an admirable record for safety and care of its employees, and we encourage its owners to continue to do everything humanly possible to further safeguard their well-being.
We at Naturipe will continue to be transparent with our customers and we will provide updates on this matter as they become available.
How We Grow
Cultivating with Care
At Naturipe®, sustainability is incorporated into every decision we make. It is a priority in all aspects of our company and farming operations across the globe.
Unique to the fresh produce industry, Naturipe is a partnership between four highly-esteemed fresh berry growers: Hortifruit S.A., Michigan Blueberry Growers, Naturipe Berry Growers and Munger Farms.
Our Family of Farmers
With berries that burst with this much sweet flavor, it’s easy to include more good-for-you fresh produce in your family´s diet. Kids love fresh berries and they’re a perfect pick for serving in quick and easy recipes, or as on-the-go snacks.