Phil Rowley was named the 2023 Cherry Industry Person of the Year for his contributions to the U.S. cherry industry. The Utah grower accepted the award July 7 in Traverse City, Michigan, during the National Cherry Festival celebration on industry day, according to a Cherry Marketing Institute news release.
“Phil is a great grower, innovator, leader and mentor who has used his extraordinary talents for the greater good of the cherry industry,” said Julie Gordon, president of the Cherry Marketing Institute.
In the 1980s and ’90s, when prices were low and times were lean for cherry growers, Rowley became an innovator and found new ways to add value to his products. He played a key role in developing a cutting-edge cherry drying process, creating one of the most sought-after tart cherry products on the market today, according to the release.
Rowley’s family has been growing fruit since 1913. He started Rowley’s South Ridge Farms in Santaquin, Utah, with his sons in 1984. They farm more than 900 acres today. In 1999, they opened Rowley’s Red Barn, a retail store known for fresh fruit, ice cream, baked goods and cherry products in the Santaquin region.
—by Matt Milkovich