Good Fruit Grower

January 2015

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10 JANUARY 1, 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER O rchardist Ray Schmitten, recipient of the Washington State Horticultural Association's 2014 Silver Pear Award, is not a person who likes to sit still. He's always been involved in multiple ventures since he graduated from college in 1985 and began working with his father, Bud Schmitten, on the family orchard in Cashmere, Washington. "My dad, when he asked me to be involved in the orchard, said part of the deal was I had to work for another company for five years." And that suited Schmitten. "How else do you learn?" he asked. "Not by being in Schmitten honored with SILVER PEAR Ray Schmitten has had multiple roles in the tree fruit industry and represents pear growers in research matters. by Geraldine Warner PHOTOS BY TJ MULLINAX/GOOD FRUIT GROWER Ray Schmitten worked with his father, Bud, at the family orchard in Cashmere after graduating from college, but his father insisted he have an outside job, too. the confines of your own little world. It's very hard to learn things without going out and experiencing them." His first outside job was as a fieldman with Chamberlain Distributing, an orchard supply company in Wenatchee. He went on to work for Dovex Fruit Company and most recently for McDougall and Sons, where he was both a fieldman and orchard manager. After McDougall purchased Barden Farms in Monitor, Schmitten was given the challenge of replanting the old Red and Golden Delicious orchard with newer apple varieties and cherries. Meanwhile, he continued to operate the family farm and lease other orchards. His acreage has increased from 35 acres in 1987 to 180 acres today, with 90 percent planted to pears. In addition, he's been involved in a number of businesses. He was a partner in the packing company Cashmere Fruit Exchange from 1995 to 2002. He later had ownership in Cascade Powder Cats, a company that offered guided backcountry skiing expeditions with accommodation at a yurt lodge in the Chumstick area. He sold the business four years ago to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Trish, still operate a Laundromat in Cashmere and recently joined their eldest son, Ryan (27), in a business growing marijuana. Their second son, Mike (24), works with Schmitten at the orchard, and they have two younger sons, Tyson (14) and Rolland (11). Schmitten said he and his wife can't help but get inter- ested and excited in new ventures. "We're a little ADD," he said. "We were blessed, both of us, with a work ethic, and a lot of times we don't know when to say no. And that's a bit of a challenge." Research Besides juggling various jobs and businesses, Schmitten has devoted a lot of time to representing the pear industry in research matters. He was on the board

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