Good Fruit Grower

March 1

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Page 4 of 47 Good Fruit Grower MARCH 1, 2016 5 DuPont joins WSU team T ianna DuPont admits right away she did not grow up on a farm. What's more, she learned to appreciate farming from, of all people, a politics professor. However, DuPont has turned that brief, unlikely introduction into an agricultural research, outreach and education career that has taken her to Bolivia, Pennsylvania, California and back to her home state of Washington. "I came to this area in part because it's just such an exciting industry," said DuPont, the new tree fruit extension specialist for Washington State University in Wenatchee, Washington. DuPont, who grew up in Issaquah, Washington, started on Nov. 1. One of her first jobs is conducting an assessment to determine what information growers want and need. She passed out survey forms in late January at the North Central Washington Stone Fruit Day, Pear Day and Apple Day in the Wenatchee Convention Center. She's still gathering input, but so far, growers have told her they want informa - tion about labor availability, regulations, organic transitions, succession planning and pests and diseases, such as spotted wing drosophila and little cherry disease. DuPont traces her involvement with farming back to a politics professor at Whit- man University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in environmental studies. That professor did a good job of getting students into the field, she said, "talking with farmers and ranchers and foresters, and gave me the perspective that 70 percent of our land is in agriculture and we all eat, so what else could be important to do." She worked with wheat growers on her undergraduate research. After Whitman, she went on to earn a master's degree in integrated pest manage- ment from the University of California-Davis, where she focused on soil nematodes. She spent two years in the Peace Corps, helping Bolivian farmers with apple, vege- table and chicken production. She has worked on farms in California, Pennsylvania and Oregon, and owned a community supported agriculture vegetable farm in Pennsylvania. She is replacing Tim Smith, now semi-retired from a 40-year extension career, 33 of them in Wenatchee. DuPont is right to start with the needs assessment, Smith said. "You don't tell people what they want to know," he said. "You ask people what they want to know." One change is that she will work from the research center, in the same building as the scientists, instead of Smith's Chelan and Douglas County extension office across town. "I really believe in getting research-based information out to our growers, and it's really exciting to help create formats for that learning environ- ment," she said. —Ross Courtney Quick Bites People and industry in the news. Read more Fresh Updates at WSTFA contributes to food safety research T he Washington State Tree Fruit Association is contributing $750,000 over five years to support food safety research. The pledge is part of a $20 million cap- ital campaign to support the work of the Center for Produce Safety, which oversees a coordinated research effort to provide fresh fruit and vegetable producers with information they need about food safety. The contribution demonstrates growers' commitment to ensuring that Washington apples, pears and cherries are not only healthy and delicious, but also remain among the safest food choices consumers can make, said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA president. "Our industry chose to make this investment in research through the Center for Produce Safety because of its strength in developing solutions to food safety questions that are practical, science-based and credible, while using research dollars effectively," he said. The Center for Produce Safety is a public-private partnership that brings together food safety experts in govern - ment, academia and the national produce industry to identify research needs, fund promising investigations and translate the results into real-world solutions. More information can be found at Fresh Fruit Cuts appoints new director F resh Fruit Cuts, processors of stone fruit, pears and grapes under the Woot Froot label, has named Melissa Blake as director of sales and marketing. Blake previously served as the value-added buyer for Fresno, California-based wholesale distributor OK Produce. Fresh Fruit Cuts is a specialty proces- sor and woman-owned business located in California's Central Valley. The com- pany is entering its third year of produc- tion and will launch new pack styles in 2016. Visit for more information. Tianna DuPont 1261 Ringold Rd., PO Box 300 • Eltopia, WA 99330 We ship nationwide, so please call for price and availability! CONTRACTS for 2017 and beyond! Custom Contracted Apple, Cherry & Pear Trees ➱ TOP QUALITY ➱ VIRUS TESTED ➱ VERY COMPETITIVE PRICING HIGHEST QUALITY FRUIT TREES ! Call for: • TREES • ROOTSTOCK • INTERSTEMS • BENCH GRAFTS • SLEEPING EYES • ROYALTIES TIME TO PLAN! 2019 Tree Needs 2017 Sleepy Eyes STACY GILMORE 509-266-4669 Stacy Gilmore •

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