Good Fruit Grower

September 2016

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54 SEPTEMBER 2016 GOOD FRUIT GROWER LAST BITE More Young Growers at Jared Gidley grower / Parkdale, Oregon age / 31 crops / Pears and cherries business / Orchard View Inc., Gidley Ag Management family background / Jared is a fi rst-generation farmer who worked several orchard jobs growing up in Parkdale, Oregon. He has a daughter, Kate, is the son of Jim and Joyce Gidley, and his wife, Kathryn, grew up in a farming family. " " " How did you get your start? I got my taste of farming when I was about 15 years old, thinning Bartlett pears. I think it would take me about a day to thin one tree. I hated it, but I made it through the summer. Years later, I started working for a cherry orchard planting trees in the spring, did irrigation work, weed spraying and mowing — just about everything — and I found myself loving the pace of it. I ended up doing it every summer from high school through college and it helped me get through school. How did you make the transition to agriculture? When I was in college, I pursued economics. I thought I'd have it made and there were jobs everywhere. It didn't happen that way. My fi rst job out of college was not in fi nance, it was for a roofi ng company. I ended up getting laid off right before cherry harvest, so I jumped right back into harvest. It was something I could just jump in and do. When the season was over, I started looking for a "real job" and I found one at a bank. When I realized that banking wasn't for me, a job opened up at a packing house in Hood River as a fi eld representa- tive. I've been working as a fi eld representative for about six harvests now. What can other young growers learn from being a fi eld representative? As a fi eld representative, I'm a liai- son between the packing house and the grower. So I am always working through issues with the market, fruit quality, scheduling of the fruit. Basically I'm that person on the front line of relay- ing all the information from one cen- tral source to 20 to 30 sources. One thing I didn't expect when I took the job was how personal relation- ships can get between grower and representative. There are intense periods of the year, and sometimes you are with them every day, sometimes mul- tiple times a day checking on them. You really get to know the people you work with on a very in-depth, professional level. " There are plenty of challenges starting out so you need to be pretty determined. PLAY scan to watch the interview SPONSORED BY by TJ Mullinax More from this interview and other Young Growers at

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