Longtime grower Dennis Jones was crowned the 72nd Cherry King during the Cherry Institute meeting held in Yakima, Washington, on Jan. 15. The Zillah grower was recognized for his passion for farming and contributions to the industry.
Jones and his brother, Will, are partners in a family farm that spans almost 500 acres, growing row crops and organic apples, pears and cherries.
The farm includes more than 100 acres of organic Rainier, Early Robin, Bing, Chelan, Index, Benton, Regina, Attika, Lapins and Van cherries — and for at least one more year, the Royal Ann variety, also known as Royal Anne or Napoleon.
Jones has been a longtime member of the Cherry Institute board of directors and the Washington Cherry Marketing Committee. He also has served on the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission’s Cherry Research Review Committee.
Outside of the tree fruit industry, Jones has served on the Toppenish Hospital board, the Bleyhl’s board and, for more than 30 years, the Zillah School Board.
Jones, born in Yakima, began working on the family farm, started by his grandfather and father in 1946, by the time he was 7 years old.
He attended Yakima Valley Community College, where he met his wife, Linda, and graduated from Central Washington State College.
Jones joined the U.S. Army Reserve Corps in 1971 and moved to Spokane before deciding to move back to Zillah and the family farm. He became a partner in the family farm in 1974.
Jones and his wife have four children — all of whom attended WSU — and 12 grandchildren.