Tuesday 31 March, 2015

Apple Citizen of the Year


2014 Apple Citizen of the Year:

Kirk Mayer has been named 2014 Apple Citizen of the Year.  The Apple Blossom Festival Royalty and Festival Administrator Darci Waterman presented Kirk with the award at the Apple Commission on Tuesday.  The Apple Citizen of the Year award began in 1981 to honor the roots of the Festival and the leaders that make this the Apple Capital of the World.

Kirk is a graduate of Cashmere High School.  He received his degree from Washington State University in 1972 and began working at the Washington Growers Clearinghouse that same year.  Kirk is now the Manager at the Washington Growers Clearing House Association which represents 2,000 tree fruit growers.  Governed by a board of fruit growers elected from 24 growing districts in north central Washington, Yakima Valley, and the Columbia Basin, it publishes a weekly bulletin tabulating prices obtained by the participating regional marketing organizations and shippers for apples, pears and cherries which is distributed to its membership. The sales figures are listed by variety, size, storage, grade and price.  This information is tabulated yearly to provide year-end summaries

 Over the years Kirk has been involved with over 30 horticulture organizations including the WSDA Commodity Inspection Service Advisory Committee, WSDA Farmworker Education Program, WSDA Future of Farming Initiative, WA L & I Cholinesterase Monitoring Stakeholder Group, Hort. Assoc. Governmental Affairs Committee, NCAE, and the Habitat Farming Initiative.  Kirk and his wife, Debbie, have been married for 25 years and have two children, Carl & Molly.  He enjoys playing tennis with Molly and hiking with Carl.  Kirk will be honored at the All Service Club Luncheon on Wednesday, April 30, and will also ride in the Stemilt Growers Grand Parade on May 3.

2013 Apple Citizen of the Year:

Dale Foreman has been named 2013 Apple Citizen of the Year.  The Apple Blossom Festival Royalty and Festival Administrator Darci Waterman presented Dale with the award at his home on Sunday.  The Apple Citizen of the Year award began in 1981 to honor the roots of the Festival and the leaders that make this the Apple Capital of the World.

Dale M. Foreman grew up in Seattle, WA and was educated at Harvard, graduating with honors from Harvard College in 1970 and Harvard Law School in 1975.  He and his wife Gail then moved to Wenatchee, drawn to Gail's hometown by the beauty and sunshine, where he began practicing law.   In the subsequent 35 years, Dale has helped many hundreds of people in our community with claims ranging from farm and ranch disputes, serious personal injury and medical malpractice, environmental regulation, employment discrimination and more.

Dale has written five books to date including The Washington Trial Handbook, How to Become an Expert Witness, and Crucify Him: A Lawyer Looks at the Trial of Jesus.

 Dale served in the political arena as well, first as State Representative, then the Majority Leader of the Washington House of Representatives, as Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party and, most recently, as member of the Republican National Committee.

 But none of the aforementioned captures Dale as his family knows him best: donning his farmer's hat and jeans, buzzing around his beloved Keystone Ranch, caring for his fruit.  In 1981 Dale bought a part interest in the Keystone Ranch in Entiat, WA.  He fell in love with orcharding and soon took over the property.  He expanded in the 1990s hoping to build a healthy operation should any of his three children wish to return home.  It didn't take long.

In 2008 daughter Mari and her husband Alan Groff joined the business.  In 2009 daughter Ann and her husband Kyle Hendrickson came on board.  And last year son James and his wife Allison added to the mix, which is known as Foreman Fruit Co.

The family now farms over 2000 acres of apples, pears and cherries in northern and central Washington.  Dale can be heard saying, "my dream came true," as he rides around the Ranch with some of his 10 grandkids in tow.

Foreman Fruit Co. partners with many different packing houses, including most here in town.  They are particularly grateful to Stemilt and to McDougall and Sons who has packed and sold their fruit from the start.

Dale has spent thousands of hours serving the tree fruit industry in a variety of informal and formal roles including lobbying on issues such as farm labor, serving as Chairman of the Washington Apple Commission, and most recently as Chairman of US Apple.

2012 Apple Citizen of the Year: 

Charlie Pomianek has been named this year’s Apple Citizen of the Year.  The Apple Blossom Festival Royalty and Festival Administrator Darci Waterman presented Charlie with the award at a reception on Friday.  The Apple Citizen of the Year award began in 1981 to honor the roots of the Festival and the leaders that make this the Apple Capital of the World.

Charlie Pomianek is the executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association, representing the interests of tree fruit packers and marketers in the north central portion of Washington State.  Charlie works closely with industry leaders and is often called upon to testify and provide information that affects local, county, state and federal regulation and legislative action.

In addition, Charlie is responsible for collecting and compiling weekly tree fruit shipment data and monthly inventories which are vital to the supply/demand economics of the industry and its overall market planning.  Charlie also works with representatives of transportation interests such as trucking companies, DOT, BLM and the Port of Seattle, ensuring the safe and efficient transport of tree fruit throughout the world.

Charlie also manages a group benefits plan for association members that includes medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage for 36 member firms covering over 700 individuals.

Charlie has worked for the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association for 20 years, taking the company from a pencil and spreadsheet operation to a computer generated highly accurate and efficient data rich organization.

Born and raised in Seattle, Charlie graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington with a degree in Education.   He and his wife Kris moved to the Wenatchee Valley in 1984 with their two sons, Alex and Bryan.

Charlie enjoys hiking, bike riding and playing softball and is an avid Husky fan.  He especially enjoys skiing with his 7 year old granddaughter Kloe and his 4 year old grandson Kaber.

2011 Apple Citizen of the Year: Dr. Gene Kupferman

Gene KupfermanDr. Gene Kupferman serves as Extension Horticulturist and Postharvest Specialist in Tree Fruits for WSU. His role is to serve as a liaison between industry and researchers and to further cooperation among scientists and extension personnel. He is a faculty member in WSU's Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Being responsible for bringing up-to-the-minute information about fruit quality, maturity, handling and storage to the postharvest industry, Dr. Kupferman presents information at extension and industry meetings and through the media or newsletters. For example, he has developed the Tree Fruit Postharvest Journal to communicate with the industry on a regular basis. The journal is received by every packinghouse manager and by postharvest research and extension workers throughout the world. He has also created the Washington Tree Fruit Postharvest Conference which attracts 500 people annually to its educational program and trade show. Topics of interest to growers are presented in timely articles published in the Good Fruit Grower, an industry publication.

An increasingly large volume of apples and pears grown in Washington State is stored in controlled atmosphere (CA) to allow for marketing on a year-round basis. New varieties of apples, pears and cherries planted within the last few years have generated a need for new information. In cooperation with other researchers, Dr. Kupferman has focused on research of an applied nature. Following are some examples of the type of research conducted.

Dr. Kupferman graduated from the University of Americas in Puebla, Mexico with a degree in International Political Science, received his Masters from Cal Polytech in Agriculture, and his Ph.D from WSU in Horticulture.


Washington State
Apple Blossom Festival
2 S. Chelan Ave.
PO Box 2836
Wenatchee, WA 98807