Thursday’s preharvest cherry tour, held every year in the Columbia Gorge areas of Washington and Oregon, concluded with a farewell celebration to Lynn Long, the horticulturist who usually leads it.
At the end of June, Long, 63, is partially retiring from his 29-year post at the Oregon State University extension office in The Dalles, Oregon.
After a morning of cherry training talks, equipment demonstrations and soil health discussions, 50 or so tour participants joined Long for a goodbye cake and a few gifts and a lunch hosted by a nearby orchardist.
Long will still be involved in the Northwest cherry industry. He plans to work part-time for three years to follow through on some new soil health trials with grower Mike Omeg, funded by a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant, as well as other projects. His wife, Marlene, works as an area representative for a California fruit genetics company.
“I’ll still be around,” Long said.
The couple has three adult children and seven grandchildren.
The university plans to hire a new extension specialist to replace Long, said Joyce Loper, association dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.