Jan 31, 2024Keystone State honors growers, Extension agents
During the first day of the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the region’s specialty crops leaders honored growers and others for their industry contributions.
At the Jan. 30 Annual Fruit & Growers Banquet, the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania transitioned leadership while the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) recognized outgoing longtime executive director Bill Troxell
The recognition was on the convention’s first day in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
PVGA recognized longtime executive director Bill Troxell, whose 40-year career at the association began in 1983. Although Troxell officially retired in December, it wasn’t surprising to association members that he was busy in a familiar role at the convention registration desk the first morning of the convention.
When he introduced Troxell, association first vice president Pete Flynn noted Troxell’s 40 years of service to the group, with the last 35 years as its executive director.
“Over the next 35 years, Bill’s dedication to PVGA grew and strengthened the organization and has made the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference the premier growers convention in the Eastern U.S.,” Flynn said. “To honor Bill for his 40 years of dedication, we thought we would give him a Life Membership Award — so he can never leave, kind of like Hotel California.”
The association also awarded a lifetime membership to Steve Sample, who bought a 37-acre specialty crop farm in Duncannon with his wife in the late 1970s.. With no experience, they started farming in 1978 and built a farm stand in 1980. He joined the PVGA and began attending the annual convention, field days and the Pennsylvania Farm Show to learn about farming.
Flynn said Sample of Sample’s Vegetable Farm was instrumental in setting up and tearing down the association’s booths at the farm show every year and volunteering his time to help people stopping by the booths.
The association, which also represents growers of berries and melons, also bestowed Distinguished Service Awards posthumously to Sinclair Adam, who died in April 2023, and Thomas Ford, who died in December.
Adam, floricultural Extension educator at Penn State for nine years and director of the Penn State Flower Trials at Landisville, was instrumental in helping plan greenhouse ornamental sessions. Flynn said his legacy can be seen during the flower trials.
Ford was a commercial horticulture educator for 41 years, including the last 31 years at Pennsylvania State University. Ford was a commercial horticulture educator and a country Extension director in Maryland and North Carolina. He assisted growers in transitioning to high value horticultural crops and worked with Central Pennsylvania’s Amish and Mennonite growers.
Andrew Schwalm, the outgoing president of the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, introduced the group’s new president Corey McCleaf, who started his two-year term during the annual convention.
Schwalm introduced the SHAP 2023 Outstanding Grower Award to Chris Baugher of Adams County Nursery Inc., for outstanding contributions to the tree fruit industry and the association.
The annual cider award competition was Jan. 30.
The first place winner is Metrick’s Harvest View Farm, Butler, Pennsylvania. Second place is Scholl Orchards, Bethlehem. Third place is Hands on the Earth Orchards, Liltitz.