Good Fruit Grower

August 2014

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46 AUGUST 2014 Good Fruit Grower Symms celebrates A CENTURY Symms Fruit Ranch is one of the few remaining tree fruit shippers in Idaho. by Geraldine Warner W hat does it take for a fruit-growing company to survive for a century? R.A. "Dick" Symms, whose grandfa- ther established Symms Fruit Ranch at Sunny Slope, Idaho, tells all in a book he wrote to mark the company's centennial. He recommends that business operators follow his "Principles for Living," the most important of which is to have integrity, which will give them credibility in the community and with their employees. They also should have moral courage, good judgment, a set of priorities, perseverance, and a sense of humor, he says. A little luck will always help, but success mostly depends on diligence and productivity. "I've noticed that people who work the hardest are the luckiest," he says. Symms Fruit Ranch, one of very few deciduous fruit producers remaining in Idaho today, supplies the world with apples, peaches, apricots, pears, plums, pluots, nectarines, and cherries. It also grows grapes for Ste. Chapelle Winery, which it founded but no longer owns, and produces a range of other crops. Richard Symms, founder of the fruit-growing busi- ness, was born in Iowa and moved with his family to Kan- sas. After their marriage in 1896, Richard and his wife Eva became dairy farmers and had three children, Darwin (Dick's father), Leta, and Doyle. Richard read a lot in newspapers and magazines about fruit growing. Many of the orchards he learned about were in western Oregon in the famous Willamette Valley. In 1912, at the age of 44, he had a chance to draw on a piece of land for homesteading in Oregon. "He put his money in—I think it might have only been about $100—and drew out his lot, which I believe was 40 acres," grandson Dick recounts in his glossy, 180-page book entitled Symms Sunny Slope: The Life and Times of the Symms Family, which is packed with pictures, history, and anecdotes. "But instead of being in western Oregon, where the land was fertile and where fruit was already grown, the land was in eastern Oregon, where volcanic rocks, sage- brush, and errant tumbleweeds, offspring of the common Russian thistle, prospered," Dick continues. "Unaware of this, my grandfather decided to head out West." The nearest railroad stop to his property was Caldwell, Idaho. On arrival in Caldwell, Richard bought a team of horses, a wagon, and supplies and headed out to fi nd his property, determined to fulfi ll his dreams. 46 AUGUST 2014 Good Fruit Grower Consider for your next planting: • BRUCE PONDER • SUSAN WILKINSON • ADAM WEIL • DAVE WEIL 503-538-2131 • FAX: 503-538-7616 BENEFITS: • Disease tolerant • Cold hardy • Adapts well to all cherry-growing districts • Forms flower buds and comes into bearing quicker than Mazzard with a better distribution of flower buds Roots available for SPRING DELIVERY Call Tree Connection: 800-421-4001 Dwarfing Cherry Rootstock Krymsk ® 5 Krymsk ® 6 [cv. VSL-2, USPP 15,723] [cv. LC-52, USPP 16,114] "Krymsk ® 5 and Krymsk ® 6 cherry rootstocks have proven to be the best rootstock for our orchards. They are yield efficient, grow and adapt well, and are cold hardy." —John Morton The Dalles, Oregon

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