Jan 8, 2021
Fruit Growers News: 60 years and counting

When Fruit Growers News Publisher Matt McCallum reflected on the first 50 years of this publication’s existence in an Editor’s Letter written 10 years ago this month, he emphasized the reasons the fruit industry has stood tall amid a myriad of challenges over a couple of centuries.

“After reading this, you may wonder how the fruit industry has survived all of these challenges,” McCallum wrote. “Growing up in and around this industry I can tell you my opinion: It’s because of the visionary leadership, strong organizations, research institutions, Extension programs and industry suppliers that have all worked together to come up with solutions. And in the end, no one will ever beat the work ethic and ingenuity of the American fruit grower!”

Gary Pullano, editor of Fruit Growers News

All of those statements remain intact – and indeed can be amplified – 10 years later as we mark the 60th anniversary of FGN’s formation in 1961.

The newest threat to the industry, the COVID-19 pandemic experienced for much of 2020 and now into 2021, was met head on by the commercial fruit production, processing and distribution sector.

It’s been nearly a year of difficult turmoil and unanticipated speed bumps. We’re far from being out of the woods, but we can find encouragement from this industry’s impeccable track record of forging ahead.

The industry’s visionary leadership – referred to in McCallum’s on-target description of generations of fortitude and problem-solving traditions – has emerged once again, reflecting the heart and soul of a proud craft that contributes widely to help feed the world despite all odds.

Much as we did in 2011, FGN will use our pages in 2021 to take a close look at the past, but also highlight the exciting opportunities to come.

Each month for the next year, we will devote several pages in each issue to look back on the changes in the industry. As we suggested 10 years ago, if you have any photos or stories to tell, email or call Editor Gary Pullano at 616-520-2144, and we will be happy to include them in our special 60th anniversary pages.

History provides the best education for achieving progress. What innovations in crop production, pest management, food safety, tree and plant production systems, water management and labor use have evolved to enable even better decisions to be made in 2021 and beyond?

We will document the path of these challenges and many more, share the thoughts of experts (focused on so many growers who have led the way) who have been and remain in the trenches. We intend to spur some lively reflection and discussion along the way.

Personally, I have been immersed in covering the intriguing, daily evolution of a changing commercial fruit industry for just eight years. While that’s a short time being associated directly with an industry that consists of generations of hands-in-the-dirt and full-speed-ahead commitment, what a fascinating ride it has been!

I admire the wealth of talent and dedication that drives the specialty crops world. When I took this job, it would have been difficult for me to recognize the breadth and scope of commitment to success seen across-the-board in this industry.

It’s an honor to be a small part in documenting that success.

Part of growing into the future is recognizing new opportunities. The experienced professionals at Great American Media Services have pinpointed a need to provide a focused perspective on the vibrant nut growing industry in this country.

In 2021, we will debut a new endeavor, National Nut Grower.

National Nut Grower is a new print and digital brand for readers in the almond, pistachio, walnut, hazelnut and pecan markets. The team behind this new launch are thought leaders and information providers for growers, researchers, crop consultants, processors, packer/shippers and associations. National Nut Grower will provide in-depth coverage of the latest news impacting the nut community.

To become familiar with this new product, check out the website at www.nationalnutgrower.com.

Gary Pullano, editor

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