When Good Fruit Grower was founded in 1946, Publisher F.W. Shields set a simple goal: “to become a clearinghouse for dollar-and-cents ideas and information for its readers — a specialized publication to fill a special need.”

That commitment deepened a year later, when Shields sold the magazine to the Washington State Fruit Commission and Good Fruit Grower became a grower-owned publication.

Today, the amount of horticultural information we report continues to grow, as does research for both tree fruit and wine grapes.

In Washington state alone, tree fruit growers are contributing $32 million for research in partnership with Washington State University.

Separately, about $850,000 each year has gone to projects in viticulture and enology research.

The growth in funding for wine research led the Washington Wine Commission to hire Melissa Hansen as its first research and program manager.

In her column this month, she talks about her work to create a research structure, put research on a sustainable footing and communicate knowledge to growers. (Read: “Hansen: Building a world-class wine research program“)

As former associate editor at this magazine, Melissa is highly qualified for that role. I’m excited to work with her and Steve Warner, president and CEO of the Wine Commission, to help communicate educational information to growers.

We’ve reported on wine grape research in the past, but we at Good Fruit Grower want to do more with the wine commission, and I look forward to deepening our similar partnership with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission under its new manager, Dr. Mike Willett.

Why? For the simple reason we work for the same people. We all share the mission of providing educational information to growers to survive and thrive in a competitive market.

Each organization has its distinct focus, mission and communication needs, but one of my goals in the coming year is to provide more help to these and other grower organizations.

I want to offer our expertise and information channels, not as a replacement of any organization’s own channels, but as a supplement.

We want to deepen existing partnerships with grower organizations and make new ones. Any organization with a need for getting horticultural information to growers should think of us.

In our popular print magazine, we have ample room for text, images and charts. But we also have a new YouTube channel and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

We have an electronic newsletter sent to thousands of readers four times a month. We just launched a new app for Apple and Android devices that now provides fast access to all our Web content.

With these resources, we deliver information to a large grower audience, using whatever tools best serve delivery and understanding of complex information.

Good Fruit Grower’s single greatest partnership is with universities, especially Washington State University, an institution of incalculable value to our industry in this state and beyond.

Every issue of this magazine contains in-depth interviews with scientists on topics of vital concern to growers, often supplemented with online extras, such as video.

We deeply appreciate our university colleagues who share their findings and give us their time. We should do more, and we will.

Growers are thrifty people. I think they expect us to work together where it makes sense and avoid duplication of resources. Any time our magazine partners with university researchers or with staff at fruit organizations to share new information, science and ideas, growers win.

We work for the same people.

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Our new app is a hit! Thanks to the more than 600 people who downloaded the new Good Fruit Grower app for Android and Apple mobile devices.

We launched the app as a better means of accessing our coverage of the Annual Meeting of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association in December.

Thanks to some technical wizardry, you can now use the app to access all our online content, including archived articles from the magazine.

You can find links to download the app at goodfruit.com/get-the-good-fruit-grower-app or at the Android or Apple app stores. •