Tree Connection teams with Blue Sky Hazelnut Nursery

Tree Connection is working with Blue Sky Hazelnut Nursery to supply hazelnut trees and growing advice to growers primarily in Eastern Washington, according to a news release. 

“There is great potential, especially for organic hazelnuts, in the global marketplace,” said Jeff Weijohn, owner of Blue Sky Hazelnuts. “Processors are looking to provide consumers with nut butters and other products that are certified organic. Currently, there is little to no supply. We are working with a growing number of hazelnut growers in Eastern Washington to create that supply.”

While Oregon grows well over 90 percent of the domestic hazelnut crop annually, according to the release, there is a growing demand for organically grown hazelnuts that Oregon is not able to supply — due to cool, wet weather causing disease and pest issues. Growers in Eastern Washington benefit from a much drier and warmer climate..

“With any new crop there are lots of unknowns; that’s where we hope to help,” said Mark Holtzinger, general manager of Tree Connection. “We have had a number of our fruit growers asking about hazelnuts and other crops over the past couple of years, and we think this is one viable option to consider …. There are lots of questions about orchard design, density, installation and varieties. Our goal is to provide resources and connect trees with growers in a way that enables them to be successful.” 

A tour of a hazelnut nursery, production orchards and processing facilities was scheduled for Aug. 31 in Wapato, Washington. For more information, call Tree Connection’s Loren Queen at 509-480-2447 or Mark Holtzinger at 509-902-2301.

Foxconn, Monarch Tractor join forces on ag equipment

Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) recently announced a contract manufacturing agreement with Zimeno Inc. DBA Monarch Tractor to build next-generation agricultural equipment and battery packs, according to a news release.

A Monarch Tractor display model. The company, which produces fully electric, driver-optional smart tractors, will work with Foxconn to build the MK-V Series. (Courtesy Monarch Tractor)

“Leveraging Foxconn’s manufacturing strengths, worldwide network of industry leaders and supply partners, and our new partnership with Monarch Tractor, Foxconn is positioned and eager to contribute to the ongoing and future success of Monarch Tractor, its products and its customers,” said Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group, which is headquartered in Taiwan. 

Full-rate production of Monarch Tractor’s MK-V Series is scheduled to begin in early 2023 at Foxconn’s Lordstown, Ohio, facility. This will follow production of Monarch’s Founder Series at Monarch Tractor’s Livermore, California, manufacturing facility.

“Creating the industry’s most advanced tractor demands a manufacturing partner with the experience to quickly scale and execute with precision,” said Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder and CEO of Monarch Tractor. “Foxconn is an EMS leader whose manufacturing and solutions are world-renowned. We are proud to partner with Foxconn and work together to transform the future of farming.”

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WSTFA donates air purifiers to protect farmworkers

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association delivered air purifiers in July to the Catholic Charities of Central Washington and the Yakima Housing Authority for use in farmworker housing units, according to a news release.

WSTFA purchased the air purifiers using a $20,000 grant from the Yakima Valley Resilience and Response Fund. This grant was made available through a funding partnership with the United Way of Central Washington, the Latino Community Fund and the Yakima Valley Community Fund. The air purifiers are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to remove viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, from indoor air and provide farmworker housing operators with another tool to help ensure safe housing for the agricultural workforce.

WSTFA is a nonprofit membership organization made up of growers and packers of apples, cherries and pears in Washington state. For more information, visit: