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Artists present farmers in Maryhill Museum exhibit…

A special art exhibit depicting farmers has opened at the Maryhill Museum of Art near Goldendale, Washington, and will run until July 30. Called “Sustaining Change on the American Farm: An Artist-Farmer Exchange,” the exhibit paired 12 farm families in the Pacific Northwest with artists who visited their farm to document the environmentally friendly conservation practices on those farms.

A variety of materials was used by the artistis to visually portray sustainability, including wood, gesso, paint, metal, and others. The American Farmland Trust sponsored the project in hopes of sparking conversation about today’s farmers and how communities can work together to preserve an agriculture that sustains Americans into the future.

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Walt Clore center campaign launched in Prosser…

With the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Washington, scheduled to open in May 2007, the center’s board of directors has launched Phase II of the capital and endowment campaign to raise $5.6 million from public and private supporters. Ground breaking for the project was held on March 28.

Already, the center has raised $4.4 million through local, state, and federal funds, as well as donations from the private sector. The Phase II campaign will fund interpretive displays and equipment for the center’s exhibition area, theatre and classrooms, tasting bar, café and wine bar, demonstration kitchen, and dining room. The building’s focal point will be a gallery designed from a series of barrel-vaulted caves.
The Clore Center, named for the late Dr. Walt Clore, a Washington State University horticulturist from 1937 to 1976, will be dedicated to exploring Washington’s modern-day viticulture, enology, and culinary practices through education, entertainment, and experience. For more information, visit the Web site at www.walterclore.com.

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Oppenheimer of Vancouver imports Asian pears…

The Oppenheimer Group of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, began importing Chilean-grown Asian pears into the United States via Los Angeles and Philadelphia in March.

Jerry Kraft, Oppenheimer’s West Coast pipfruit category coordinator, reported that fruit size was smaller this year, peaking on 14 to 18 counts. The company expected to import twice the volume that it did in 2005. Varieties included the yellow-skinned Shinseiki and Nijisseiki and brown-skinned Hosui and Shinko.

In April, Oppenheimer turned to New Zealand for its Asian pear supply, including Hosui pears from the Hamilton region. The New Zealand pears were expected to peak on slightly larger sizes than the Chilean pears.

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CF Fresh and CMI join forces to sell organics…

CF Fresh of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and Columbia Marketing International of Wenatchee, Washington, have formed a joint venture to market organic apples.

CF Fresh, a pioneer in the organic produce business, specializes in organic tree fruits from Washington, California, and South America. It sells throughout North America and overseas. CMI sells apples, pears, and cherries worldwide.

Mike Hambelton, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release that with the dynamic growth of the organic tree fruit industry and an increasingly consolidated and competitive marketing environment, the timing was right to work together to expand the sales and marketing of organics.

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Johnson named Commercial Photographer of the Year…

Lance Johnson, Image West Photography, Yakima, Washington, was named Commercial Photographer of the Year by the organization Professional Photographers of Washington.

The March event hosted the Western States Regional print competition with entries received from Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, and British Columbia. Johnson also received the award for Best Pictorial, the Fuji Masterpiece Award for Best Commercial Photograph, and a Kodak Gallery Award for Best Commercial Photograph. Johnson also received honorable mention in the editorial and unclassified concept categories.

All four of the prints are now eligible for national recognition at the Professional Photographers of America convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas, January 14-16, 2007. He also received the Honorary Fellow of Photography Degree from the Professional Photographers of Washington.

Johnson’s photography is frequently featured on the cover of Good Fruit Grower.

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Tax exemption on diesel fuel used for agricultural crops…

As of March, diesel fuel used to produce agricultural crops and provide horticultural services to farmers is exempt from sales tax in Washington State.

Horticultural services include:

—soil preparation, including weed control before planting;

—crop cultivation services, including planting, thinning, pruning, spraying, and frost control (wind machines and smudge pots); and

—crop harvesting, including picking fruit.

The exemption does not cover fuel used for growing agricultural products for a person’s own consumption, for transportation, or for home heating or power.

To claim the sales tax exemption, the user must give the seller a completed Farmers’ Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate, which is available on the Washington State Department of Revenue’s Web site at http://dor.wa.gov.