This issue is my last as managing editor of Good Fruit Grower magazine. After five years in the job, I’m retiring. I’m not a fan of the word “retired.” I’m not tired. I’m just moving on to do new things.
When I succeeded Jim Black as managing editor in 2013, I heard a little voice in my head that said, “Don’t blow it.” I inherited a magazine that had a fabulous reputation for integrity and excellence, circulating to readers in 50 countries, with most in the Pacific Northwest.
A little less than three years after my arrival in this job, three respected editors departed: Richard Lehnert died unexpectedly, Geraldine Warner retired and Melissa Hansen moved to the Washington State Wine Commission.
As tough as those changes were, our readers today continue to receive an outstanding magazine, thanks to the exceptional work of Editor Shannon Dininny, Associate Editors Ross Courtney and Kate Prengaman and contributor Leslie Mertz and other talented freelancers.
As one of many examples of that excellence, look what Shannon and our photographer TJ Mullinax produced over several previous issues after their recent trip to New Zealand with the International Fruit Tree Association.
In addition to the editors and photographers, I want to thank others for what they’ve done the past five years.
I’ll start with Maria Fernandez, who leads audience development and is very involved in our Spanish language initiatives; our design guru, Jared Johnson, who each issue finds new ways to improve the clarity and attractiveness of our reports; the veteran sales team: Theresa Currell, Rick Larsen and Doug Button.
If you are a baseball fan, you’ll understand why I think of the sales team as a collective Cal Ripken of magazine publishing. Year after year, they do the many things under impossible deadlines to serve our advertisers.
I’m also grateful to the many growers who mentored me in this job and patiently tutored me in the intricacies of growing great fruit. There are many grower families whose contributions to the industry and to community are legendary.
I’d give a special mention to the extended Gilbert family, one of the Yakima Valley’s longest operating orchard families who remain incredibly vital as innovators, volunteers and leaders. The Gilbert I know best is Cragg Gilbert with whom I’ve spent hours driving around the valley in his truck as he explained the life cycle of a tree, the evolution of growing practices, and even the movement of ancient glaciers that sculpted this fertile valley.
My successor as managing editor has not been named, but I’m not worried. Whoever gets this job will inherit a fabulous team and a wonderful industry to cover. He or she will lead the magazine to new successes. Good Fruit Grower is the essential resource.
Don’t blow it! •
—by O. Casey Corr