Attendees at the International Fruit Tree Association’s 60th annual conference and study tour crisscrossed much of north central Washington in February, weathering snow, freezing rain, fog and moments of sun-kissed vistas.
In the process, they settled into their tour bus seats, wiped moisture from the windows and craned to see new orchard trellises and vineyards dotting the route from Brewster to Mattawa.
– by TJ Mullinax
Bentley Pohl, from Schwallier’s Country Basket in Sparta, Michigan, looks out as the sun rises on a tour bus as part of the International Fruit Tree Association’s 60th annual conference and study tour in Washington in February. This bus is heading to the Mattawa area. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Scott McDougall, co-president of McDougall and Sons, is surrounded by IFTA tour attendees learning about the company’s new Legacy Orchards plantings, which were obscured by heavy snow and fog in East Wenatchee. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Nova Scotia grower Andrew Sterling kicks his heels up on a Brewster, Washington, stop at Mike Divis’ orchards during a pleasant break in the weather. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
New York grower Joe Nicholson bears the freezing rain shortly after departing the IFTA bus at a stop at Washington at Auvil Fruit Co. in Orondo. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Two tour buses of about 50 people were given a special tour of McDougall and Sons’ new packing facility in East Wenatchee highlighting their food safety-first plant. The second bus load left the facility with their own bit of IFTA history, after briefly being stranded. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Willow Drive Nursery’s Jim Adams greets the 2017 IFTA attendees to their Ephrata tree and rootstock processing facility. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
IFTA attendees walk in the sunshine toward an orchard at McDougall and Sons for their last stop of the day, after hours of snow and rain. (Shannon Dininny/Good Fruit Grower)