Hort Association bestows honors
The Washington State Horticultural Association honored growers, researchers, and educators during its annual meeting.
Silver Apple Award winner Dain Craver (right) presents the Organic Industry Service Award to David Granatstein.
Organic grower and consultant Dain Craver of Royal City received the Washington State Horticultural Association’s Silver Apple award.
Craver grew up in California. His father, a police officer and part-time actor, moved the family to Spokane, Washington, when Craver was young. After attending Washington State University, Craver got a job managing orchards for Columbia Fruit Company and then spent 18 months managing an apple warehouse in New Mexico. After returning to Washington, he worked for the orchard supply company Northwest Wholesale, and leased his first orchard in 1988 in Royal City.
He went into organic production in 1991 and served on the Washington Organic Program’s advisory program for eight years. He also served on the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission for eight years.
He has consulted for both organic and conventional growers and manages the 600-acre Stein Orchards at Royal City as well as his own orchards. He has a diversified operation and takes his fruit to 13 packing houses.
Since the 1980s, when his mother had cancer, Craver has donated hair to Locks of Love, an organization that supplies hairpieces to disadvantaged children suffering from hair loss because of medical reasons. He cuts his hair every two years or so.
Dr. Gene Kupferman, Washington State University postharvest specialist for the past 30 years, received the Silver Pear award on the eve of his retirement.
Presenting the award, income Hort President West Mathison said Kupferman’s research has focused primarily on the industry’s bottom line. He obtained $2 million in grant funding to study pear ripening and how it can be used to improve grower returns.
Kupferman has written articles and developed newsletters and Web sites to help keep growers informed. “I have always tried to recognize that our job is to communicate research results,” he said. “Wherever the research was done around the world, our job was to put it in the hands of the people in Washington who needed it in an understandable format.”
Kupferman grew up in New York and earned a bachelor’s degree in international politics at the University of the Americas in Mexico. He earned a master’s degree in agriculture from California State Polytechnic University and a doctorate in horticulture from WSU. He worked for two years as a WSU county Extension agent in Spokane before moving to the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee. He retires at the end of this year.
Washington State University Extension educator Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel received the 2010 Women’s Leadership in Science award, and Barbara Larson Walkenhauer, chief financial offer at Larson Fruit Company, Selah, received the Women’s Leadership award for service. The awards are sponsored by Laura Mrachek.
Hoheisel, who is based at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, is conducting trials to evaluate spray application technology and aims to use new technology to modernize extension communication. She is involved in the major research project, Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops.
Hoheisel earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in entomology from Pennsylvania State University. In 2002, she took a technician position with WSU at Prosser. She was appointed Extension educator for Benton and Franklin Counties in 2006.
Walkenhauer has been involved in the apple industry since 1980 when she began working as controller for the family business, Larson Fruit Company. She now runs the company with her cousin Keith Larson. For the past 10 years, she has been president and chief executive officer of Larson’s orchard operations. She has served on the board of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, the Washington State Horticultural Association, and the Washington Apple Education Foundation. She currently serves on the board of the Washington Apple Commission and chairs its operations committee.
Accepting the award, Walkenhauer commented that working as a woman in the Washington tree fruit industry is not easy but she would like to see more women take part in the future. “This is a dynamic industry, and I would love to see more women involved,” she said.
First organic service award
David Granatstein, WSU sustainable agriculture specialist, received the first Organic Industry Service Award.
Granatstein has been with WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources in Wenatchee since 1993 and has conducted research trials on organic weed control, orchard floor management, compost, mulches, soil quality, biological controls for pests, and other topics. He maintains the WSU organic and integrated tree fruit production Web site as well as the organic statistics Web site.
Granatstein earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Cornell University and a master’s degree in soil science from WSU. For seven years, during the 1970s, he managed a cooperative organic farm in Okanogan County, Washington. In 1985-86, he worked on an international research and extension project in Lesotho in southern Africa, and then worked for two years for the non-profit Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota before returning to WSU in 1989 to work on a six-state sustainable dryland farming project.
He is a member of the organic advisory board for the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Food Program and on the board of directors of Oregon Tilth. In 2005, he organized the North American Organic Tree Fruit Research Symposium in Chelan, Washington, and he is organizing an international organic fruit symposium that will be held in Washington in 2012.
Granatstein said that while at WSU he has especially enjoyed his on-farm research with growers and the opportunities to work on sustainable agriculture in other countries, such as Russia, Korea, Taiwan, South America, Italy, and Switzerland.