Bill Dodd Named American Fruit Grower's 2015 Apple Grower of the Year

Share Article

Fourth generation apple grower is honored for his creativity and resourcefulness in running his own business, and for his service to other growers in the apple industry.

Apple Grower of the Year

Apple Grower of the Year

You can’t predict how it will work out, but the more people you know, the better chance you have of finding success.

Bill Dodd, of Hillcrest Orchards in Amherst, Ohio, has been named the 2015 Apple Grower of the Year (SM) by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower™ magazines, published by Meister Media Worldwide.

The Apple Grower of the Year award program, sponsored by Valent U.S.A., honors apple growers who have gone beyond the confines of the orchard and have, through their involvement and leadership, made a real impact on the apple industry.

Dodd was honored for his creativity and resourcefulness in running his own business, and for his service to other growers in the apple industry.

Dodd is a fourth-generation apple grower, whose family has operated Hillcrest Orchards since 1928. He is the second Ohio grower to be named Apple Grower of the Year. Mitch Lynd of Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, Ohio, was selected in 1995.

Hillcrest Orchards is 30-acre wholesale and retail operation. Dodd, along with his wife, Diane, offer apple and pumpkin picking, a corn maze, hay rides and a straw tunnel play area. But what they’re really selling, he says, is an education, a connection to the family farm.

“Years ago people had direct contact with the farm, but [as a country] we got away from that,” he says. “We’re capturing the feel kids got growing up before the Internet and video games.”

Dodd combines the traditions of the family farm with newer technology. For his pick-your-own apple orchards, he uses dwarfing trees in state-of-the-art high-density plantings, along with trellising and irrigation systems as a way to teach visitors about modern apple growing. He also believes high density systems are more sustainable and will be easier for the next generations of Dodds to take over the orchard.

“The improvements that we’re making will hopefully allow the business and the farm to continue,” Dodd says.

“It is with great pleasure we honor Bill Dodd as Apple Grower of the Year. Bill is not only a fine horticulturist and tireless industry advocate, he's an educator. He wants kids – many of whom have zero connection to agriculture – to understand that food doesn't come from the grocery store” David Eddy, editor of American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower says.

Dodd is a busy man, but his activities go far beyond his own orchards. In 2004, he became the president of the Fruit Growers Marketing Association— an Ohio marketing cooperative with about 40 growers. He is a past president of the U.S. Apple Association, joining the board a decade ago. He and his wife, Diane, are members of the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association, the leading organization for the agritainment industry. He also serves on the International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) board of directors. Dodd says joining such associations provides valuable networking opportunities.

Dodd is also president of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA), and has been instrumental in the release and marketing of the new EverCrisp apple. The MAIA has huge hopes for the EverCrisp, which is said to be great tasting like Honeycrisp but much more grower-friendly.

Dodd says 235,000 EverCrisp trees were ordered for this year’s planting with 350,000 ordered for next year. MAIA is working on three more selections to patent, with more announcements to come within the next 12 to 18 months.
At most industry events, Dodd can be seen sporting an EverCrisp shirt, helping to promote the variety he helped introduce.

“The thing about networking is, no matter how smart you are, there’s always someone smarter,” Dodd says. “You can’t predict how it will work out, but the more people you know, the better chance you have of finding success.”

About The Award
The Apple Grower of the Year award is presented annually by American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower magazines, and honors apple growers who have gone beyond the confines of the orchard and have, through their involvement and leadership, made a real impact on the apple industry. American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower are published by Meister Media Worldwide.

The Apple Grower of the Year award will be presented during the U.S. Apple Outlook and Marketing Conference, Aug. 20, in Chicago.

About Meister Media Worldwide
Meister Media Worldwide, headquartered in Willoughby, Ohio, provides integrated media solutions for worldwide specialized agriculture. A leader in the industry, the company provides information and networking opportunities to global markets, including fruits and citrus, vegetables, cotton, ornamental horticulture, precision agriculture, plant protection and Latin American agriculture.

Founded in 1932, Meister Media now produces 11 regular magazines, along with weekly eNewsletters and more than 20 websites, as well as trade shows and hosted-buyer events. In addition, Meister Media provides services including custom print products, web development, content marketing, videos and strategic business development services. Contact us at info@meistermedia.com or visit American Fruit Grower magazine at http://www.growingproduce.com.

Share article on socal media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Richard Jones
Meister Media Worldwide
+1 440-602-9217
Email >

Media

Apple Grower of the Year Cover photoBill DoddBill and Diane Dodd