Apr 1, 2010
12:00 AMOut of the Orchard
Entering the Blogosphere?
Several of us within the grower service sector have agreed to take a shot at sharing our thoughts and insights in an on-line grower forum hosted by Good Fruit Grower magazine. Joining me in this blog will be Washington Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover, Pear Bureau Northwest President Kevin Moffitt, New York Apple Commission President Jim Allen, and Michigan Cherry Committee Executive Director, Phil Korson. We’ll share our ideas and observations with you as we experience them, and hope that you will feel free to join us with your feedback.
People of the 21st century live in a world where a great deal of information is just a “Google Search” away. It is amazing to think that just four years ago, there were 2.7 billion searches on Google’s search engine. This year, there will be over 32 billion searches on Google. Likewise, social networking has become the way of the world. My wife checks her Facebook account three or four times a day. My children (ages 5, 11, and 13) are tweeting on Twitter. MySpace has over 200 million users—which, if MySpace were a country, would make it the fifth largest one on earth!
As I consider the phenomenon of social networking and online communications, it strikes me that creating a blog that reaches out to the tree fruit industry is like creating a “virtual coffee shop” where information flows out from (and back to) our tree fruit family.
What type of information do we hope to share? For me, it will be the passion I have to find ways to get stone fruit to more consumers around the world and in doing so … helping growers remain viable. So you should expect some thoughts on marketing and what consumers up to relative to our fruit. The others on this blog will also have their own passions to share with you. But our thoughts will make up only a small part of the information you should access here.
There is a great deal of information that comes our way that might be timely in sharing with growers at large. For example, Dr. Matt Whiting of the Washington State University Cherry Research Center will occasionally cue me in on issues like high heat and potential for cherry doubling. Some years we get rain on our cherry crop in certain growing districts … this forum could help all of us communicate our challenges and at the same time keep the information within the family. I may choose to share a reminder that application of certain sprays can keep a grower out of markets like Taiwan and Japan. Recently, I talked to a grower in the Creston Valley in Canada who lost his entire cherry crop to a giant swarm of cherry eating wasps. Is this a topic that might warrant discussion in the blogosphere? Maybe.
We in the tree fruit world are living in exponential times. Our cherry crop increased by 110% in one year and 45% over our previous record crop that was harvested in 2007. In the next five years, more people in China will speak English than will speak it in the United States. In that time, I hope to see China grow to be our largest offshore market. Recently I asked a group of over 300 growers how many of them used “Smart Phones” as means of communication and information retrieval. In that giant meeting hall, only four people raised their hands, and most of them were industry field personnel.
I find myself taking a leap of faith into the blogosphere of technology and modern age communication. It is my hope that at least a few our grower family members will throw caution to the wind and take the leap with me and my fellow bloggers. We may not be able to share a cup of coffee with you in this virtual coffee shop, but we hope to leave you with something to think about, and, maybe something that will help you be a better grower or marketer.