I’m back where I want to be, though it took me a while to figure out exactly where that is.
In case we haven’t met, I’m Good Fruit Grower’s newest associate editor. I’ll be covering the fruit industry out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Look for me at the Great Lakes EXPO in December if you want to say hi or share a story idea.
Here’s the rundown on my resume. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University, I spent a few years as a reporter with a newspaper chain in Southeast Michigan — the kind of small, local papers that you find on your front porch even though you never subscribed to them. Despite the limited readership, that job taught me a lot about the workings of local government.
Next, I spent more than a dozen years at Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News, eventually rising to managing editor of both publications. I didn’t grow up on a farm or have a background in agriculture, but I learned something that surprised me: I like writing about farming, especially fruit.
After leaving FGN and VGN, I spent a brief stint as a communications manager at MSU and as managing editor of a trade magazine covering the manufactured housing industry. But those brief detours confirmed what I already suspected: I’d rather write about fruit.
I can’t explain this preference with any real precision. Compared to so many other forms of agriculture, growing fruit seems like a fragile enterprise. A lot goes into keeping those vines, bushes and trees healthful and productive. Not to mention the picking, packing, shipping and marketing that comes afterward. Maybe that’s why I like writing about fruit: It never gets boring.
One more thing: As the latest Michigan-based editor with Good Fruit Grower, I’m proud to continue following in the footsteps of the late, great Richard Lehnert. I worked with Dick for five years at Fruit Growers News — long enough to realize that he was one of a kind, both as a journalist and as a personality. Big shoes to fill.
—by Matt Milkovich