Jobs in the tree fruit industry aren’t limited to the obvious ones of picking or packing fruit. That’s the message conveyed in a new video called “Pick of the Crop” made for the Washington Apple Education Foundation, which plans to show it to high-school students to demonstrate the breadth of opportunities awaiting them.
The 8-1/2-minute film, made by Howell at the Moon Productions in Wenatchee, Washington, features six young tree fruit industry people who talk about their work:
Ty Cutforth, application specialist, Westmark Industries, Inc., Wenatchee; Diana Aparicio, benefits administrator, Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee; Heidi Duben, Wal-Mart replenishment analyst, Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima; Rolando Martin, assistant production manager, Olsen Brothers Ranches, Prosser; Jason Whitman, graphic artist for ingredients and food service, Tree Top, Inc., Selah; and Laura Grunenfelder, technical service representative, Pace International, Wapato.
Jeff Ostenson, with Howell at the Moon, said the goal was to motivate people to investigate the various career opportunities in the tree fruit industry that are less well known than farmer or field horticulturist. Agriculture is Washington State’s largest employer, with 142,000 employees.
“The goal was to show the breadth of the industry and what amazing opportunities there are,” Ostenson said. “It’s not just about farming.”
Jennifer Witherbee, executive director of the Apple Education Foundation, said the foundation’s board appointed a committee to select young people from various backgrounds to be featured in the video.
“This is the film we will be showing in high schools to attract students’ attention before they know what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives,” she said. “They can follow their passion, whatever it may be, and still work in the tree fruit industry.”
The film will be shown to the industry during the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual convention in Wenatchee in December and at the convention’s Student Leadership Luncheon. It can be viewed on the foundation’s web site at www.waef.org, under the Scholarships tab and the menu title “Learn more about industry careers.”