Making time for professional conferences means something else has to give. It happens to fruit growers, and it happens to those of us in publishing. But the chance to rub shoulders with others in your life's work, to hear experts on subjects that are new to your profession, and to invigorate your enthusiasm for your work, make the sacrifices worthwhile.
Last month, I attended the American Society of Business Publication Editors conference in New York City where the former editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., --Norman Pearlstine, explained what he sees for the future of business-to-business publications. Once the Wall Street Journal's --executive editor, Pearlstine also elaborated on how Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Journal may jeopardize that icon's independence and reputation. After his presentation and some extended discussion with other editors at the conference, it was clear that the independence given Good Fruit Grower's editorial staff is both unique and coveted. Many editors, it became obvious, are under more pressure to work for the --bottom line than they are to produce solid, balanced reporting.
New to me were many of the ways innovative publishers are now using digital press and Web-based techniques to either augment or replace printed magazines. Good Fruit Grower has long had a Web site, archiving over a decade of our editorial content. All of it's searchable and free. But is that enough?
New technology would allow us to include PowerPoint presentations from researchers that you could access in your office 24/7. We could include podcasts of interviews with growers and industry leaders on topical issues that are important to you now, not weeks later when they can make it in to print. We could provide space for you to post photographs or videos of your operation, where you could help other growers solve their problems—or have them help you solve yours. Social --networking via the Internet could be a part of Good Fruit Grower—
if it makes sense to our audience, you. The technology is available for a wide spectrum of inexpensive communication, but are growers --interested?
If you are interested in having Good Fruit Grower expand its digital offerings, let one of our staff members know what you'd like to experience. It's interesting to know what's possible and we like to be cutting edge, but, like for growers, there's added expense and risk in being --cutting edge when the market's not ready.
September is our annual pear-themed issue, and this year's highlight is Taylor's Gold, described as the "pear from hell" for growers in the inland Pacific Northwest. (Wasn't that distinction previously given to Bosc?)
Taylor's Gold appears to be more grower-friendly west of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington where humidity can approach the 40 percent level common where the pear was discovered. The New Zealand sport (of Comice) may be too difficult to grow in traditionally arid pear-growing regions, but interested packers in the Northwest may wish to buy westside fruit for packing in existing warehouses.
Oregon Extension specialist Steve Castagnoli reports on his trip to Portugal and the International Pear Symposium held in Peniche. Although Portugal would, he admits, likely not rank as a major pear-growing country, they do have a small, but robust domestic industry.
Finally, difficulties with canned pear markets are covered. Pears! Such a beautiful fruit, you have to forgive its challenges.