New York breeder honored
Dr. Susan Brown, apple breeder at Cornell University, New York, has received the Jackson Dawson Memorial Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for exceptional skill in the science or practice of hybridization.
Brown's goal is to develop high quality, flavorful apples that have a distinctive appearance and good shelf and storage life. Developing cultivars that are resistant to apple scab is also a goal. Brown conducts genetic studies in the lab and in field trials to examine inherited traits that influence the appearance of these characteristics in new varieties.
Silver Pear goes to Jay Grandy
Jay Grandy, who has been manager of the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association since 1998, received the Washington State Horticultural Association's Silver Pear Award.
Grandy grew up in Tennessee and earned a business degree from Auburn University, Alabama, and a master's degree in business administration from Siena College, in New York State.
After working for General Electric Company and then the FMC Corporation's agricultural chemical group, he moved to Yakima, Washington, in 1984 to become president of Snokist Growers. He has served on the boards of the Pacific Coast Canned Pear Service, the Pear Bureau Northwest, the Washington State Fruit Commission, the National Food Processors Association, and the Northwest Food Processors Association. While at the Canning Pear Association, Grandy instituted a multi-year contract with processors in an effort to stabilize pricing.
Presenting the award, Steve Hull, Hort Association president, said Grandy understands both sides of the issue and has helped bring growers and canners together.
Don Golladay is Grower of the Year
Co-op manager receives Clore Award
Mike Concienne, senior regional manager of the National Grape Cooperative Association in Grandview, Washington, was recognized for his years of service to Washington's grape industry during the annual meeting of the Washington State Grape Society. Concienne, who received the Walter Clore Award, has served on the organization's board of directors for many years and was vice president. He has also served as president of the Washington State Concord Research Council and advisory chair of the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, and is a board member of the Washington State Council of Cooperatives.
Brunner awarded Silver Apple
Dr. Jay Brunner, director of Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, received the Washington State Horticultural Association's Silver Apple Award in recognition of his work in helping the apple industry transition from pest control based heavily on organophosphate pesticides to integrated pest management.
Brunner earned his doctorate in entomology at WSU in 1995 and for the following three years was assistant entomologist at Michigan State University. He has been an entomologist with WSU in Wenatchee since 1978. His approach is based on his philosophy of mankind's responsibility as a steward of natural resources and accountability to society.
During his career, he has secured more than $5 million in outside funding to support his work. Almost half of that has been provided by the Washington fruit industry, primarily through the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. In 2005, the International Dwarf Fruit Tree Association named him Outstanding Researcher.
Milne to attend New Zealand conference
Brent Milne, assistant orchard manager for McDougall and Sons, Inc., Wenatchee, received the Charles J. Miller Travel and Study Grant. He will use it to travel to Australia and New Zealand and to attend the annual Rosaceae Genomic Conference in Napier, New Zealand, in March.
Milne, a member of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, plans to study the fruit breeding programs of Australia and New Zealand in order to better understand how new varieties from Washington State University's apple and cherry breeding programs might be commercialized in the future. He also hopes to observe apple and pear varieties that might be of use in future apple and pear breeding programs in Washington State. In addition, he aims to gain a greater understanding of genomics, which he expects will play a greater role in projects that the Research Commission will fund in the future.
Milne is a representative on the Washington-Oregon Canning Pear Association and a member of the Northwest Horticultural Council's Science Advisory Committee and WSU's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Washington State Horticultural Association's Environmental Affairs Committee and Postharvest subcommittee.
Women's leadership through science
Robin Boal of Leavenworth, Washington, received the Women's Leadership Through Science Award sponsored by Laura Mrachek, a Washington State Horticultural Association board member. Boal earned a bachelor's degree in botany and marine biology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, and has worked as a scientific assistant at Washington State University's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee since 1986. Since 2001, she has provided technical support for Dr. Chang-Lin Xiao's plant pathology program, focusing on postharvest diseases of tree fruits. She is a member of the center's safety committee and received an award for leading the cleanup of hazard waste at the center. She has also helped with outreach to elementary school children.
Women's leadership through service
Flor Servin, a pesticide safety educator with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, received the Women's Leadership Through Service Award. Servin earned a bachelor's degree in entomology from the Autonomous University of Chapingo in Mexico, where she grew up. She was the first person in her family to attend college. She served as a field technician for the University of Mexico, where she ran a community education campaign for small farmers. After immigrating to the United States, she worked as a laboratory technician and line supervisor for Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee, Washington.
For the past five years, she has worked as a farmworker education specialist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture in Wenatchee. Through her programs, she has trained thousands of farmworkers, growers, and foremen how to protect themselves and others, including their families, from pesticide exposure. She was co-chair of the Spanish session at the Washington State Horticultural Association's 2005 meeting.
Michigan's Nugent honored
President of Graceland Fruit Cooperative, Inc., Don Nugent received the distinguished service award of the Michigan State Horticultural Society during its annual meeting. Nugent, who grows tart cherries and apples, was instrumental in 1973 in forming the growers' cooperative when a local tart cherry processor closed. Following a large cherry crop in the mid-1980s, he experimented with drying cherries and explored applying the technology to other fruits and vegetables. Today, Graceland is the largest supplier of infused dried fruits and vegetables. Other value-added products produced for the food industry include fruits that are "Soft-N-Frozen" and vegetables called "Fridg-N-Fresh" that last 90 days. The cooperative has used innovation to expand markets into 36 foreign countries.
Nugent, of Frankfort, a lifetime member of the Hort Society, is a past member of the Michigan Farm Bureau board of directors, served as chair of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture, and is chair of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees. Past honors include Michigan Exporter of the Year, Michigan Manufacturer of the Year, and the Edward R. Madigan U.S. Agricultural Export Excellence Award.
The Michigan State Horticultural Society presented its distinguished service award posthumously to Keith Warren, a cherry and apple grower of Traverse City, for his years of contributions to the fruit industry. Warren, who died in May 2005, worked as an agricultural chemical representative for 30 years and was a strong supporter of horticultural research.
He was a founding member of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station and served on the station's board of directors for 25 years. He was also a member of the Michigan Association for Cherry Producers, National Red Cherry Institute, the Grand Traverse Fruit Council, and the Hort Society.
Hill recognized for leadership
A leader in the agricultural and legislative arenas until her death last year, Sandra Hill received the distinguished service award posthumously from the Michigan State Horticultural Society. The Montrose resident was a two-term state representative from 1993 to 1996 and joined the Michigan Department of Agriculture in 1997 as commodity coordinator. While a state legislator, she authored the Tourist Oriented Directional Signage legislation.
Before entering public service, Hill was co-owner with her husband of Montrose Orchards, a family farm with more than 200 acres of diversified fruit. She held leadership positions in many industry organizations, including the Michigan Agriculture Marketing and Bargaining Board, Genesee County Farm Bureau, and Women for the Survival of Agriculture in Michigan.
Machials win gold
Jack and Adelia Machial of Oliver, British Columbia, Canada, have been awarded the Golden Apple Award by the B.C. Fruit Growers Association. The couple's 10-acre apple, cherry, and prune orchard includes new varieties, such as Ambrosia, Gala, and Fuji apples, and Staccato cherries. Jack was born in Portugal and came to Canada with his family when he was 12 years old. His parents bought an orchard in 1964. Jack purchased his first orchard in 1974 and another smaller one in 1991. He is a member of the board of directors at Okanagan Similkameen Cooperative Growers Association.
B.C. Soft fruit award goes to Thorp family
The B.C. Fruit Growers' Association's Soft Fruit Award went to Thorp Orchards, which was established by Jack and Esther Thorp in 1941. The original orchard had peaches and Red Delicious and Winesap apples. In 1991, under the leadership of Brad and Kandus Thorp and their sons, Jonathan, Christopher, and Stephen, the family began a major orchard renovation, replacing older varieties with Royal Gala apples and cherries.
Today, they have 15 acres of Sylvia, Lapins, and Sweetheart cherries, with another 10 acres of Staccato cherries coming into production.
All plantings are on a 9- by 15-foot spacing and are trained to a central leader system. The family also provides a camp that houses up to 80 workers.
B.C. Compact Orchard Award
The B.C. Fruit Growers' Association's Compact Orchard Award went to Manjit and Shavinderjit Gill of Cawston, British Columbia, who have a 20-acre organic orchard. They bought the orchard in 1996 and converted it to organic in 1999. It includes Ambrosia, Gala, and Granny Smith apples, planted at a density of 1,700 trees per acre on average. The Gills' sons Deep and Robin are actively involved in the farm.