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Jeramy VanVleck

Jeramy VanVleck

Holtzinger Fruit Company in Yakima, Washington, has added two new staff members.

Jeramy VanVleck, the company’s new operations manager, has more than 15 years of experience in apple packing, storage, sales, and production coordination. He is the third generation of an apple industry family.

Daniel Bakes

Daniel Bakes

Daniel Bakes has joined Holtzinger as field service representative for the Columbia Basin and Walla Walla district. He was born in Moses Lake. After earning an associate degree in soil science and ag business from Walla Walla Community College, he went to work for Blue Mountain Growers, Inc., Milton-Freewater, Oregon. He provided field services for the 80-member cooperative and was responsible for assisting with Global Gap certification, harvest planning, and technical support.




Stemilt hires regional manager

Jocelyn Gerard

Jocelyn Gerard

Jocelyn Gerard has joined Stemilt Growers, Inc., of Wenatchee, Washington, as its regional merchandising manager based in Chicago, Illinois.

Gerard, who is from Chicago, has spent the last several years working to develop a local food movement, including a farmers’ market and a food cooperative.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and has experience in event management, account relations, and marketing communications. She spent ten years working in management at the interior design company Maya Romanoff Corporation. She has also worked in administration at Reuters, a global information company.

Trust fund donation honors Braman

Bill Braman was honored as he turned 90 by a $5,300 donation to Enviro-Weather from the Michigan State Horticultural Society trust fund, which Braman has guided since its founding in 1985. (photo credit Richard Lehnert/Good Fruit Grower)

Bill Braman was honored as he turned 90 by a $5,300 donation to Enviro-Weather from the Michigan State Horticultural Society trust fund, which Braman has guided since its founding in 1985.
(photo credit Richard Lehnert/Good Fruit Grower)

The Michigan State Horticultural Society trust fund recently donated $5,300 to renovate the Enviro-Weather station at Belding, Michigan, in observance of grower Bill Braman’s 90th birthday.

Braman grew apples near Belding and was a founder, in 1957, of the nine-grower cooperative Belting Fruit Storage (now BelleHarvest Sales).

But his major claim to fame came in developing the hort society’s trust fund, established in 1985. An original member of the trust fund committee, he has chaired it for many years, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through his personal effort, and directed its investments.

Over the years, the fund has collected more than $1.2 million from growers and other donors. From that base, it has given more than $1.3 million in support of fruit industry research at Michigan State University—and still has an endowment value of a similar amount.

Allyn Anthony, executive secretary of the Michigan Hort Society, said the money is often used as a bridge, providing immediate help for emergency projects when traditional funding fails.

The hort society has given Braman its distinguished service award twice, most recently in 2006 to recognize his work with the trust fund.

“With his personal fundraising approach, he has helped grow the trust fund and has given generously of his time and personal resources,” Anthony said. In 2004, Braman contributed $10,000 in memory of his father and two brothers, with whom he farmed. He retired 27 years ago.

On May 7, Beth Bishop, the coordinator of the Michigan Enviro-Weather program, presented a plaque to Braman at BelleHarvest Sales, where members of the trust fund committee were meeting.

Braman, who has a keen sense of humor, says a key to raising money is “putting the hay where the horse can reach it.” Many donations come from growers as they are approaching the end of successful farming careers and want to give back to their industry and establish a legacy.

Enviro-Weather, which has 73 weather stations across Michigan, has been seeking additional grower financial support in recent years. The stations collect data on air and soil temperature, relative humidity, air speed, precipitation, solar radiation, and leaf wetness, and -Enviro-Weather translates that data into reports of fire blight, apple scab, and other diseases, and insect alerts as well, for fruit growers, who can access it from their computers and mobile devices.