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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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