Blueberry industry leader Bernadine Strik died April 14 in Corvallis, Oregon.
“Our industry has lost a great leader, mentor and friend,” Kasey Cronquist, president of the North American Blueberry Council and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, said in a news release. “Bernadine has made an indelible mark on what the blueberry industry is today, and her legacy of innovation, research and passion will impact generations of blueberry growers to come.”
Strik, who retired in 2021, was a professor of horticulture, a berry crop specialist and researcher at Oregon State University. In her 34-year career at OSU, she led research that transformed the blueberry industry, improving yield and quality, machine harvest efficiency, pruning, optimization of production systems, plant nutrition and organic production systems. She also operated a berry crop consulting business that became known as “blueberry school,” helping growers and companies around the world, according to the release.
In 2021, Strik received the North American Blueberry Council’s Duke Galletta Award for excellence in horticultural research, the Chad Finn Ambassador Award from the American Pomological Society and was elected a fellow of the International Society for Horticultural Science. She also received the OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award in 2014 and was elected a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science in 2007.
—by Jonelle Mejica