Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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Family Succession Borton Fruit TURNS 100 I the 20-acre farm 100 years later into 6,000 acres of apples, pears, and cherries, growing, storing, packing, and selling more than 7 million boxes of fruit annually. Richard Borton, one of Byron Sarver's three sons, who recently celebrated his 100th A fourth generation will honor the family's values and heritage. Text and photos courtesy of Borton Fruit Company birthday, recalls that from an early age, he learned the values of discipline and hard work. Growing up on the farm, all three Borton Boys—Byron Ervin, Don, and Richard—partic- ipated in their share of chores, beginning in grade school. From milking cows to thinning apples and working late nights protecting the orchard from frost with smudge pots, the boys were indoctrinated to the demands of farming at a very early age. With a work ethic akin to the one modeled by his father, Richard Borton graduated magna cum laude from Washington State University with a degree in electrical engi- neering, leading him to a promising career with Pacific Power & Light. Richard's younger brother, Don, graduated from Washington State in the ROTC program. In the wake of World War II, Don was called to duty. "He was sent overseas and was later tragically killed while on patrol leading his men behind enemy lines on a reconnais- sance mission," Richard said. "It was during the time that Don was away at war that I began to feel the tug on my heart to come back home to the farm to help my father, who was nearing retirement and working too hard. In 1942, I joined my older brother, Byron, and my father in the fam- ily farming business." Byron supervised the orchard operation while Richard managed The original 20-acre farm, 1918 warehouse packing and assisted his father with bookkeeping and accounting. In the late 1940s, a major fire destroyed most of the packing house. While the fire was a setback, they rebuilt and eventually expanded to more than 250 acres and more than 250,000 boxes of fruit annually. Third generation It was at this time that a third generation of Bortons returned home to carry on the family tradition. Growing up as neighbors and cousins, Byron's and Richard's sons, Bill and John, were more like brothers, learn- ing the ropes of farming just as their fathers had. While they briefly con- sidered working outside of the family business while studying in college, both returned home. According to Bill, who graduated from WSU with a degree in horticul- ture before serving four years in the Army, "During college, I thought I might go into horticulture research, but I ended up being drawn back to Founder Byron Sarver Borton (far right) and three sons (right to left) Byron E., John Richard, and Don, 1940s 16 DECEMBER 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER n 1912, Byron Sarver Borton moved to the Yakima Valley from Albany, Oregon, to become a schoolteacher at the Marks School, a one-room schoolhouse just a two- mile horse ride from the 20-acre farm he purchased. Mr. Borton's tireless work ethic as both a teacher and a farmer were evident to those around him, but little did he know that he was establishing core values that would be integral in transforming

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