WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (PRWEB) August 01, 2022
Dave Gleason, a longtime horticulturist for one of Washington’s largest apple growers, Domex Superfresh Growers of Yakima, has been named 2022 American Fruit Grower℠ Apple Grower of the Year. The award is presented by American Fruit Grower® magazine, published by Meister Media Worldwide.
Gleason began his career as an independent pest consultant, but about 20 years ago he began consulting for Kershaw Fruit, eventually going to work full-time for the company. He managed all their orchards until 2018, when he began concentrating on variety development. Today, Gleason is Horticulturist/ Proprietary Variety Developer at Kershaw Fruit, a division of Domex Superfresh Growers, one of a family of companies owned by the Kershaw family. Domex farms thousands of acres of apples, pears, cherries, and blueberries, though Gleason works only in apples.
Gleason is known as a go-to guy for grower panels at industry events, particularly on thorny horticultural issues, and can often be seen at such meetings as that of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. He’s a careful listener, no matter if he’s talking to a veteran of 40 harvests with thousands of acres, or a young grower with just a few dozen.
His long experience as a pest consultant serves him well in modern orchards, as like many other Washington growers, Domex is farming a lot of organic fruit. His father, Russ, who just passed away this past year at the age of 93, owned the pest consulting business before him, and taught him well the difference between “organic” and “natural.” He says he owes his dad for instilling these fundamentals, and today Gleason is respected for his reasonable approach to organic farming and sustainability, as well as regenerative farming.
“We are focused on regenerative approaches, how can we take what is there and improve it for the future,” Gleason explains. “The orchard is its own ecosystem.”
Sponsored by Valent USA, the Apple Grower of the Year program honors individuals who have influenced the apple industry, both within the orchard and outside of it.
"Dave is the type of grower everyone in the industry should strive to emulate,” BeckyJo Smith, Associate Director of Sustainable Solutions at Valent U.S.A., says. “He is a passionate horticulturist and lifelong learner. We admire Dave for many reasons, but especially for his passion for sustainable apple production to ensure the productivity of orchards for years to come.”
David Eddy, the Editor of American Fruit Grower, and a member of the award selection committee, said Gleason was chosen because of his willingness to share his deep horticultural knowledge with fellow growers. He stands out even in Yakima, which has become the de facto “apple capital” of Washington, the state that produces two-thirds of the nation’s apple crop.
“The thing that is so unusual about Dave is he regularly meets with such a wide range of people in the industry,” Eddy said. “For instance, he has coffee at 5:30 a.m. every Tuesday with two retired horticulturists. But he also has weekly lunches with young growers who’ve been charged with huge acreage responsibilities. At all of these, he is learning and sharing.”
Gleason is featured on the cover of the August issue of American Fruit Grower magazine. He will be heading to Chicago Aug. 18 accompanied by his wife, Barbara, to accept the award, sponsored by Valent USA, which will be presented by American Fruit Grower® at the USApple annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference.
“Dave Gleason is known throughout the industry as a leading force behind optimizing fruit production, ensuring fruit quality and land sustainability, and helping develop new varieties,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “Growing up on his family’s orchard outside of Yakima, doing everything from driving tractors and trapping gophers to moving sprinklers and picking apples, explains why he’s admired throughout the apple industry for his agricultural knowledge and collaboration skills. USApple congratulates Dave on this well-deserved award.”
About The Award: The American Fruit Grower℠ Apple Grower of the Year Award is presented annually by American Fruit Grower 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 is published by Meister Media Worldwide.
About Meister Media Worldwide
Meister Media Worldwide is the leading global media company serving specialty agricultural markets around the globe. With a vision of cultivating a sustainable world through the power of knowledge, Meister U.S. and international brands advance these markets with print and digital media, events, data intelligence products and custom business solutions. Meister Media Worldwide is based in Willoughby, Ohio, USA, with presences in Beijing, China, and Mumbai, India.