Diamond’s day: Growing, packing, shipping… and the fruit keeps coming

Centennial status is a proud one for sure.

In April, Diamond Fruit Growers celebrated its 100th year as a cooperative effort in storing, packing and shipping of pears, apples, and cherries grown in Hood River County.

Congratulations go all the member growers, as well as employees of Diamond Fruit, for reaching this milestone. (Members will round out the celebration at the annual meeting in June.)

Diamond, like many agricultural-based businesses, has seen its share of ups and downs, good years and bad, but has made it to 100 as a vibrant company responsible for the care and distribution of some of the best fruit the valley has to offer — in other words, the best tree fruit in the world.

Duckwall-Pooley, the other Hood River-based packing house, will celebrate its 100th in 2019, and the Washington-based Stadelman Fruit, also in the Odell packing house trio, was formed around 1905.

The essence of the packing houses’ success is teamwork with the growers. This makes the achievement of a centennial a true tribute to the company, to the orchardists and their employees, and to the entire fruit industry of Hood River County.

Growers have seen losses to part of the 2013 cherry crop (article, page A1), and odd weather patterns have made for an unpredictable growing season so far for many growers. One pear farmer said he and some of his neighbors have seen, in 2013, more late-April nights requiring the use of smudge pots and other tree-warming techniques, and cold temperatures in areas of the valley that traditionally have been a few degrees warmer.

Fluctuations in temperatures and other conditions of both nature and the economy will continue to challenge growers and shippers of fruit, as they always have. The community can help by understanding the need of growers to heat their orchards at night, which results in some fumes and noise.

Later this year, the luscious crunch of a Gala apple and the buttery flavor of a Bosc pear will put all of that in sweet perspective.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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