Kaari Stannard is the The Packer’s 2020 Apple Woman of the Year.
Stannard, owner and president of New York Apple Sales, Glenmont, N.Y., is just the second woman recognized with the award, which was established in 1964. The first woman honored was U.S. Apple Association president Ellen Terpstra in 1998.
The Packer’s editor Tom Karst announced the 2020 award Aug. 21 at the U.S. Apple Association’s 125th Annual Crop and Outlook Marketing Conference, a virtual event this year.
Karst said peers praised Stannard’s work in building New York Apple Sales to a premier sales agency, and say her commitment to the industry is demonstrated by investments in orchard and packinghouse operations.
"She has strong connections across the global apple community, and works tirelessly to help increase apple consumption and returns to the land." — Mike Preacher
As a business owner, wife and mother of two girls, Stannard is up early and gets the most out of every day, friends say.
Colleagues say Stannard’s work ethic sets her apart.
“Coming into the business, Stannard didn’t know what she couldn’t do, and opened every door to streamline and grow the business,” Karst said.
She began packing apples from the orchard owned by her stepfather, Marty Michaelson, while in high school. She joined New York Apple Sales in 1997 after becoming a certified public accountant and working as an auditor for several years. Stannard became president and owner of New York Apple Sales in 2000 after Michaelson’s death.
“Kaari is smart, competitive, fun and likable,” said Mike Preacher, marketing director of Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers and vice chairman of the U.S. Apple Association.
“She has strong connections across the global apple community, and works tirelessly to help increase apple consumption and returns to the land. I appreciate her leadership in U.S. Apple, which is particularly important, considering she operates in a state that holds a lot of political clout.”
"This is such an honor and I am so happy to receive it." — Kaari Stannard
Through her volunteer leadership, Stannard has also given back to the apple industry.
Stannard said she recalled attending U.S. Apple Association meetings since she was in college, even before she chose the industry as a career.
“I’ve been attending the reception (for many years) that awarded this fantastic honor to so many of those before me,” she said.
She praised her team at New York Apple Sales for giving her the ability to give back to the industry.
“This is such an honor and I am so happy to receive it,” she said.
“I’m here because my team gives me the ability to go out and donate my time to the industry, to join committees, to be active. My team is the best in the business and I do owe it all to them.”