Cherry co-op names new president

Oregon Cherry Growers, Inc., a member -owned fruit cooper­ative, named Timothy Ramsey as its new president and chief executive officer. Ramsey, with experience leading companies and launching new products, was most recently chief operations officer for La Terra Fina USA. Before that, he was vice president of sales and marketing for Pacific Foods of ­Oregon. Ramsey succeeds Edward Johnson, who retired at the end of 2012 after serving as president for more than a decade.

Oregon Cherry Growers, with headquarters in Salem and a second plant in The Dalles, produces fresh sweet cherries for domestic and international markets. It is also one of the largest sweet cherry processors of all types of cherry products: maraschino, frozen, brined, glacé, ingredient, dried, and canned. Additionally, the cooperative is a supplier of dried blueberries.

Italian pomologist to join WSU

Washington State University has appointed Italian researcher Dr. Stefano Musacchi to a new tree fruit pomologist position based at the university’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee. This is the first of several endowed chair positions created as a result of a special assessment being paid by Washington apple and pear growers to support research at WSU.

Musacchi, an assistant professor at the University of Bologna in Italy, is an internationally recognized leader in pome fruit physiology and production, according to WSU. He has worked on numerous fruit crops including apple, pear, quince, peach, cherry, and apricot. He has studied propagation and training systems, evaluated rootstocks and cultivars, and done research on the ­mechanisms of graft incompatibility.

Musacchi earned his a doctorate in pomology from the University of Bologna in 1996. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the university before being appointed assistant ­professor in 2000.

Richard Knowles, chair of WSU’s horticulture department said Musacchi has an impressive record of acquiring competitive extramural support. His research program has attracted almost $4.5 million euros (more than U.S.$5.5 million) in funding over the past eight years. He has extensive working relationships with academics and apple and pear industry personnel throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa.

“Dr. Musacchi has a strong reputation among colleagues for developing programs in tree fruit physiology, management, and variety development that are highly innovative and nationally recognized for outcomes and impacts,” Knowles said.

While the endowed position is focused on research, Musacchi also has experience in teaching.  He is actively engaged in mentoring graduate students and will bring a student with him to WSU.

John Richard Borton, 1912–2012

John Richard “Dick” Borton, patriarch of the Borton Fruit Company ­family, died December 1 at his home in Yakima, ­Washington, at the age of 100.

Dick was born on May 30, 1912, in Albany, Oregon, and was the middle of three sons. Soon after he was born, his father, Byron Sarver Borton, moved the family to the Yakima Valley where he became the head schoolmaster at Marks School and purchased a 20-acre orchard nearby.

Dick graduated from Yakima High School in 1930. After graduating from Washington State College with a degree in electrical engineering, he worked for Pacific Power and Light. In 1938, he married Veda Marie Nansen from Almira, Washington.

In 1946, he joined his father and his brother Byron in the farming business. He managed the warehouse packing and bookkeeping, He retired shortly after his son John and nephew Bill joined the business in 1972.

Dick is survived by son John and daughter Barbara Kinlock, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, his daughter Nancy, his parents Byron Sarver and Frances Mae ­Borton, his brothers Byron and Don, and his granddaughter April Borton.

A feature about the Borton family was published in the December 2012 issue of the Good Fruit Grower.