Michigan hort society gives service awards
The Michigan State Horticultural Society gave distinguished service awards to Joe Klein and Randy Beaudry, two people well known in Michigan’s fruit industry. The awards were made during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 8.
Klein grows apples and cherries on his Ridge Fruit farm near, Sparta, Michigan, and Beaudry is a nationally known postharvest physiologist at Michigan State University, currently developing storage protocols for popular new apple varieties like Honeycrisp.
Joseph B. Klein and his wife, Sharon, grow 170 acres of apples and six acres of sweet cherries on their Fruit Ridge farm near Sparta, Michigan. They took over the farm from his parents, Royal and Bernice, and now farm with their son, Joe.
His father started planting apples in the 1940s with 50 acres of standard apple trees. The farm now grows semi-dwarf and dwarf apples and includes six acres of pick-your-own and picked sweet cherry trees. In 1957, his father built a CA room that held 5,000 bushel crates. Today that has expanded to 4 CA rooms that hold about 75,000 bushels with state-of-the-art technology.
Joe has been involved in a number of farm organizations. He was president of the Michigan State Horticulture Society in 2004. For more than 35 years he’s been secretary-treasurer of Jack Brown Produce. He was recently elected to the U.S. Apple Association Board.
Originally from Ohio, Dr. Randy Beaudry earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Ohio State University and his PhD from the University of Georgia. He started his career at MSU as a postharvest physiologist in 1989.
His research activities focus on preserving the postharvest quality of fruits and vegetables. He works with modified atmosphere packaging, controlled-atmosphere storage, non-destructive quality assessment, apple postharvest disorder physiology, control of aroma biosynthesis, and use of volatiles to inhibit decay. Spin-offs from research have led to the development of a number of practical devices or methods for which patents have been awarded.
Current emphasis for the Great Lakes apple industry is on development of controlled atmosphere storage protocols for Honeycrisp.
His Extension assignment is with the Michigan Apple Maturity Program, designed to improve quality of Michigan apples. Information is shared weekly among Michigan shippers, packing houses, storage operators, and growers.
Beaudry organizes and conducts the biannual Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Storage Clinic, updating operators on changes in CA and packinghouse regulations, methods for increasing efficiency of CA operations, and techniques for improving their ability to maintain fruit quality.