Don Schrack, Staff Writer
Don Schrack, Staff Writer

A few things.

After the heat wave of recent weeks, you folks east of the Mississippi may conclude this old man out West has lost his mind.

Maybe so. But I’m beginning to doubt the whole global warming thing.

I’m no scientist, but I can read a calendar. It’s been summer for nearly two months.

For the most part, the Pacific Northwest is still waiting for the season to arrive. Cold, cloudy, chilly.

Roger Pepperl, the marketing guru at Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., told me the other day that because of the weather the cherry harvest will continue into mid-September!

No, that’s not a misprint. Retailers take notice: there will be plenty of those delicious Washington cherries for the Labor Day weekend ad.

It is not that I ever doubt a single syllable that Roger tells me, but just to be certain I called Yakima, a couple hours south, to check with Richard Gonzalez, general manager of the Washington division of L&M Cos. Inc.

“When are you guys going to schedule summer?” I asked.

“It was last weekend,” he replied. “Summer stopped by for a couple of days.”

The late summer arrival could mean a bit of a delay in picking of the Italian prunes, empress plums and president plums that L&M added to its inventory by entering into a marketing agreement with Eakin Fruit Co., Union Gap, Wash.

But keep checking with Richard and his crew.

When the fruit does start coming off, customers can expect to continue to receive the same product and same service, Gonzales said.

Another issue:

A news release last month from Santa Cruz-based California Certified Organic Farmers announced the group’s Pesticides Bug Me campaign, an effort that, according to the release, “will let consumers know that buying certified organic products will keep harmful pesticides out of their food.”

The release goes on to claim that “the use of dangerous pesticides is associated with birth defects, childhood brain cancers, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorder and more.”

I’ve come to have great respect for growers of organic and conventional fresh produce — and of the folks who market those products.

At a time when the federal government actually seems to be serious about getting more fruits and vegetables on the plates of our overweight kids, does it not make sense for all of us to hold hands and jump on the bandwagon?


The Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Fresno held its annual blessing of the grapes ceremony early this month.

It is an Armenian tradition brought to the U.S. decades ago from the Old Country — repeated a week later at Fresno’s St. Paul Armenian Church. Buses of the faithful came from as far away as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Nice to know there’s emotional and spiritual support for those of you growing, harvesting, and marketing the grapes — and for those across the country who make certain there’s plenty of shelf space for them.

By the way, the blessings were for both conventional and organic grapes.

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