Tim Smith, who has served as Washington State University Extension educator in north central Washington for almost 30 years, is one of four WSU faculty members who have been named recipients of the annual 2009-2010 Sahlin Faculty ¬Excellence Awards, to be presented on March 26. Smith will receive the Sahlin Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement.

Raymond Faini, director of WSU Extension in Chelan County, said Smith has dedicated his career to helping Washington growers. He developed the Cougarblight model for predicting fireblight outbreaks, a worldwide scourge of apple and pear trees, and has also done field research on numerous other key issues facing the tree fruit industry, including orchard replant disease, cherry fruit fly control, weed management, pear rootstock ¬performance, and cherry doubling.

Faini said Smith has been an exemplary extension educator whose influence goes far beyond Washington State and even the nation.

Smith graduated cum laude from Eastern Oregon University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and graduated magna cum laude from Washington State University with a master’s degree in plant pathology.

He was a WSU Extension agent for Grant and Adams counties from 1975 to 1982 and has been Extension ¬educator for Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties since 1982, providing educational programs in pest management, safe pesticide use, soils, irrigation, and orchard renovation.

Also receiving awards are Dr. Gustavo Barbosa-Canovas, professor of biological systems engineering and director of the Center for Nonthermal Processing of Food, who earned the Sahlin Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts; Dr. Thomas M. Tripp, professor of management and operations at WSU Vancouver, who earned the Sahlin Award for Instruction; and Dr. Mary Sanchez Lanier, ¬clinical associate professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences and associate dean in the College of Sciences, who earned the Sahlin Award for Leadership.

Tree fruit veteran heads California Tree Fruit Agreement

Gary Van Sickle, who has held numerous positions for the California Tree Fruit Agreement and helped the federal marketing order programs through many transitions, was appointed Tree Fruit Agreement president in mid-February. Van Sickle takes over leadership of the organization following Sheri Mierau’s departure in December 2009.

Van Sickle has served California’s tree fruit industry for more than 34 years, joining the organization in 1976. Through the years, he has served as a field director, research director, and regulatory compliance director for the Reedley-based organization that administers marketing order programs on behalf of California’s 900 fresh peach, plum, and nectarine growers.

“The California tree fruit industry is excited to have Gary Van Sickle as president of the Tree Fruit Agreement,” Mike Reimer, chair of the Peach Commodity Committee, said in a news release. “As we have transtitioned to an organization focused on resources, research, and crisis management, Gary’s experience in grower and government relations will be essential.”

While research director, he oversaw up to 20 research projects per year, including the Pest Management Alliance project, which encourages the use of integrated pest ¬management practices.

National honor for Paul Friday

Paul Friday, the Coloma, Michigan, peach grower who found himself unhappy with varieties available 25 years ago and decided to improve things, was recognized by the National Peach Council with its achievement award.

The award was presented during the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in February.

“I was displeased with the peach varieties available and decided to take a hand at it myself, for my own farm,” Friday said.

From that grew the Flamin’ Fury series, which now includes 30 patented varieties of peaches and one nectarine. Fifteen nurseries in the United States and four in Canada propagate and sell them. Most recently, Stargrow Nurseries in South Africa was licensed to propagate and sell the trees. South Africa supplies peaches in African markets and off-season peaches throughout Europe and the Middle and Far East. The varieties are being grown or tested in countries around the world.

Friday, an avid direct marketer who attends ten farm markets each week in Chicago, values a long marketing season, and his Flamin’ Fury series now covers 15 weeks from July to the middle of October. Friday said the criteria he screens for in searching for the best possible cultivars are flavor, high Brix (sweetness), juiciness, size, color, firmness, freestone, fewer split pits, winter and spring hardiness, and disease and insect resistance.

Friday’s family farm of 150 acres dates back to 1846. He has been a grower and direct marketer of peaches for 50 years. He enjoys sharing his long-time marketing experiences in a light-hearted manner with others, he said, and was busy speaking to farm market groups across the country this winter.

Friday has a degree in horticulture from Michigan State University and was once a teacher of vocational agriculture. He was president of the National Peach Council for two terms in 2003 and 2004. His Web site address is www.flaminfury.com.

Hogmire recognized for IPM work

Dr. Henry Hogmire, who retired at the end of 2009 after 30 years as the tree fruit entomologist at West Virginia University’s Kearneysville Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, was recognized for his work by the National Peach Council.

The Carroll R. Miller Award was presented during the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in February.

“Dr. Hogmire’s most significant accomplishment was the development and implementation of integrated pest management programs in West Virginia orchards,” the award citation said. “He was one of the first scientists to recognize the importance of stink bugs to peach production in the eastern United States. In the 1980s, he trained field scouts that fruit growers could hire to inspect their orchards for pest problems. This resulted in a reduction in pesticide use and improvement in fruit quality through better timing of pesticide applications and the use of predators for biological control of mites.”

He edited the Mid-Atlantic Orchard Monitoring Guide, published in 1995, which was the first, and only publication to date to deal with all phases of IPM in the mid-Atlantic states, the citation said. It had comprehensive sections on peach and nectarine pest management.

With a joint appointment in research and extension, he coordinated the fruit center’s leadership committee, its newsletter, and its annual winter fruit school.

Zee wins New Jersey grower award

Douglas Zee, Jr., who owns peach and apple orchards and a farm market in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, has received the New Jersey State Horticultural Society’s outstanding grower award for his accomplishments and leadership in the fruit industry.

Zee owns JerZee Orchards and also works with his father, Douglas, on Zee Orchards. He was cited for his leadership in growing and marketing peaches, use of low-water irrigation, chemical bloom thinning, mechanical pruning, integrated pest management, and the use of municipal leaves for composting and use in his orchards. In addition to marketing fruit through the prominent family farm market, he sells wholesale under the JerZee and Jersey Fruit labels.

He has been active in fruit organizations as an officer and director of the state’s horticultural society and New Jersey’s Peach Council and Peach Promotion Council and is past chair of the research committee of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Wine grape Grower of the Year

Long-time Horse Heaven Hills grape grower Paul Champoux was named the 2009 Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year during the annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers in February. A past chair of the association’s board of directors, Champoux is a partner in one of Washington’s most recognized vineyards, Champoux Vineyards LLC, located near Alderdale. Grapes grown there were part of Quilceda Creek Vintner’s 2002 and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon wines that were each awarded 100-point scores from noted wine critic Robert Parker.

Champoux partnered with four wineries to purchase the 130-acre Mercer Vineyard in 1996. He was already familiar with the vineyard, working as the vineyard manager for the Mercers, beginning in 1989. The original block was under a ¬center-pivot irrigation system. Since then, Champoux has expanded the vineyard to 170 acres and has added drip irrigation, but the center pivot still irrigates much of the original block.

In presenting the award, Grape Association Executive Director Vicky Scharlau said that Champoux is always on the cutting edge of viticultural practices and focuses on plant health and nutrition, applying a regime of foliar sprays. When it comes to wine grape quality, she said, “He gets it. Either you understand what quality is or you don’t, and he does.”

Scharlau added that Champoux had been nominated for the grower award nearly every year, but he was disqualified in the past because he was on the board of directors. Champoux, recovering from the West Nile ¬disease he contracted last summer, was unable to receive the award in person.

Industry service honored

With a Washington State winemaking career that spans more than three decades, Kay Simon was recognized for her years of dedication to the state’s wine industry. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, she came to Washington in 1977 and worked for several years for Chateau Ste. Michelle. In 1983, Simon combined talents with her viticulturist husband, Clay Mackey, and they established Chinook Wines in Prosser.

Simon has been active in the wine industry, serving on the Wine Advisory Committee to review research proposals, and as a member of several organizations, including the Washington Wine Institute, Wine Yakima Valley, the Yakima Valley Wine Tech Group, and Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic society of ¬professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverages, and hospitality.

Snokist Growers appoints SQF practitioner

Rob Adams has been appointed Safe Quality Food (SQF) practitioner at the Snokist Growers cooperative in Yakima, Washington. He is responsible for validating changes to Snokist’s food-safety guidelines and food-safety plans.

Adams has been with Snokist for ten years. He has worked as field horticulturist, fresh division quality assurance manager, and manager of field support and environmental resources. He previously worked for Strand Apples, Inc., in Cowiche, Washington.