Good Fruit Grower

January 15

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Michigan Apple Queen Plymouth Orchards is located near Ann Arbor, a hundred miles west of the fruit belt near Grand Rapids where Jim Hill and Jim Engelsma have their orchards. All of them operate direct farm markets. Plymouth Orchards is owned by Mary Emmett, and the cider makers are Alicia Estrada and Mary Krause. Honorable mentions went to fifth place Klein Cider Mill of Sparta, cider maker Stephen Klein, and fourth place to Erwin Orchards of South Lyon, cider maker Bill Emery and owner Bill Erwin. There were 34 entries. E lizabeth Wittenbach of Belding was crowned the Michigan Apple Queen for 2014, and Emily Webster of Paw Paw is first runner-up. The contest took place in December at the annual Michigan Apple Committee grower luncheon during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, Emily Webster, first runner-up (left) and and Farm Market Expo. Michigan Apple Queen Elizabeth Wittenbach Contestants—there were eight—must have a connection to the Michigan apple industry. Both are from apple-growing families. Wittenbach, 19, is the daughter of Mike and Marnie Wittenbach and is a student at Michigan State University, studying agribusiness management. Both her father and her grandfather Ed Wittenbach are nationally known apple growers and industry leaders. Webster, 21, is the daughter of David and Anne Webster. She is studying animal science at Michigan State University. Each received a scholarship from the Michigan Apple Committee. Best cider P lymouth Orchards and Cider Mill won Michigan's annual sweet cider contest. Second place went to Hill Brothers Orchards and Cider Mill, Grand Rapids, and third to Engelsma's Apple Barn and Cider Mill, Walker, both previous multiple winners of the trophy. 6 JANUARY 15, 2014 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Jim Koan Distinguished service T he Michigan State Horticultural Society presented Distinguished Service Awards to two people during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo. Jim Koan, of Flushing, was recognized for his industry leadership on his 500-acre farm, where he grows and markets 150 acres of organically grown apples and hard cider made from them. His hard cider has 60 distributors in 40 states and is the primary focus of his business. (See "A man of principle" in the January 1 issue of Good Fruit Grower.) Doug Buhler, director of Michigan State University agricultural experiment station (now called AgBioResearch) and senior associate dean for research in the university's college of agriculture, was also recognized. He came to MSU in 2000 to head the department of crop and soil sciences and became interim dean of the college for two years. He was honored for his leadership in Project GREEEN, in which special funding is directed toward research projects chosen in a competitive process in which industry stakeholders participate. GREEEN is an acronym for Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs. The association said Buhler has recognized the importance to industry of key research and extension positions and worked to hire new scientists during financially difficult times.

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