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Editorial Blogs

Industry veteran rides the waves

Gary Pullano, associate editor for Fruit Growers News, is blogging this week from the International Fruit Tree Association's Regional Summer Tour in Washington state. Washington state apple grower Jim Doornink survived the turn-of-the-century (21st, that is) purge of fruit producers in the state, only to be left wondering whether he would be able to compete with larger producers in recent years. Well, the proof is in the production – he not only found a way to hang in there in the midst of the Yakima River Basin, he’s about to the join the ranks of 100-bin-per-acre performers, a benchmark that’s becoming the gold standard for many producers in the state, and elsewhere for that matter. Doornink has been a commissioner with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission since 1984. He is currently chair of the commission, established by the state legislature in 1969 to “promote……  » Read more

IFTA tour story ripe with industry progress

Gary Pullano, associate editor for Fruit Growers News, is blogging this week from the International Fruit Tree Association's Regional Summer Tour in Washington state. When you gather 170 people from seven countries, including those from nine U.S. states, all on three buses to learn about precision fruit production, you better have a good story to tell. Well, that’ s not a problem in Washington state. That’s being confirmed in tall order for participants in this week’s Regional Summer Tour sponsored by the International Fruit Tree Association. The tour is taking a circuitous route through, Richland, Mattawa, Basin City, Eltopia, Wapato, Naches, Selah, Yakima, Mattawa, George, Quincy, Richland – and all points in between. The economics of fruit production has driven growers to monitor production tree-by-tree, no matter the size of the operation. In a year marked by record-breaking high temperatures, fruit is running two weeks……  » Read more

Returning to the birthplace of apples in North America

The International Fruit Tree Association is holding its 58th Annual Conference in Canada's eastern province of Nova Scotia, where apples were first grown in North America. Larry Lutz of Scotian Gold Cooperative laid out some of the history at the beginning of the conference. He said apples have been grown in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley since 1605, when Samuel D'Champlain first settled there. British settlers, many of them Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, replaced the original French settlers, and found a maritime climate ideal for growing apples. Fast forward to the 1930s, when the province' apple industry reached a production peak. Most of its apples were shipped to Europe at the time, but by the end of World War II most of those markets were gone, Lutz said. Fast forward again to 1996, when Honeycrisp was introduced to Nova Scotia. Lutz called that a 'turning……  » Read more

Anatomy of a new pest battle

Anatomy of a new pest battle

FGN assistant editor Gary Pullano is blogging from the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The manager of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) entomology program is optimistic a new invasive pest discovered during last year’s growing season at a Berks County specialty stone company that imports product from Asia could be eradicated in short order – if containment strategies are swift and effective. Sven-Erik Spichiger confirmed for a Tuesday educational session audience at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention that spotted lanternfly has the potential to impact the grape, fruit tree and hardwood industries. He indicated the department is getting ready to announce a tree banding program using sticky tape rolls in the infected area and possibly elsewhere to help control its spread and kill the pests. The finding of the pests prompted the immediate quarantine of Pike and District townships, according……  » Read more

Labeling a controversy

Labeling a controversy

Gary Pullano, Fruit Growers News Assistant Editor, is providing blog coverage of the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. Blizzard conditions (actual and fictional) in much of the northeast didn’t appear to significantly impact attendance at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention that kicked off Tuesday in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Part of the juggling act by attendees is determining which educational sessions have the most meaning to the success of their operation, and what ideas and concepts can best impact – or threaten – their bottom line. Kick off an early-morning session with discussion of genetically modified food labeling legislation, and it’s apparently a non-starter in this crowd consisting largely of specialty crop growers. But should it be? Only a couple dozen folks heard Ross Pifer, director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center at Penn State Dickinson School of Law, present a thorough update……  » Read more

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