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Agriculture

Illustration of elves dancing around Christmas tree
Winter 2022

Talkin’ around the Christmas tree

The Pacific Northwest—particularly western Washington and Oregon—has historically been a major Christmas tree production region. Today, it produces about a third of the Christmas trees sold each year in America.

In general, there are two types of growers: large-scale farms producing trees for the wholesale market and smaller, often family-run operations for the choose-and-cut market.

 

Christmas trees around the United States:

The top Christmas tree-producing states are: Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington.
The average growing time is seven years, but it can take as few as four and as many as 15 to reach the typical height of 6 … » More …

Greg Stewart
Winter 2022

Fair man: Meet Greg Stewart

A friend sent him the quote “probably five years ago,” and it really resonated.

It summed up his feelings for agricultural fairs, declaring they “bring us together, and thereby make us better acquainted, and better friends than we otherwise would be. … the chief use of agricultural fairs is to aid in improving the great calling of agriculture … to make mutual exchange of agricultural discovery, information and knowledge; so that, at the end, all may know everything which may have been known to but one…”

It’s an excerpt from a longer text, and if you talk with Greg Stewart (‘71 Ag.) long enough—and he … » More …

AI-driven robot scans and thins apple blossoms at Roza Experimental Farm
Fall 2022

Videos: Robots in orchards

The robots are coming…to an orchard or field near you.

Robots, drones, and automation are part of the smart agriculture movement with the aim of creating the farms of the future.

Watch some of the robots in action…

 

Robotic apple harvester making headway (Good Fruit Grower, January 14, 2022)

 

Automatic fruit picker demonstration by FF Robotics (Good Fruit Grower, 2017)

 

Mechanical pollination trials on a commercial cherry crop (Good Fruit Grower, 2016)
Featuring WSU horticulturist Matthew Whiting at the Prosser-based WSU research orchard

 

LaserWeeder implement (Carbon Robotics, … » More …

Squash soup in a bowl
Fall 2022

Latah squash recipes

Latah squash is a Kirkland family treasure. The heirloom variety has been passed down for several generations.

Now, thanks to the efforts of Brad Jaeckel, manager of Eggert Family Organic Farm at Washington State University Pullman, seeds of the beloved cucurbit are available to gardening enthusiasts and farmers through a regional cooperative. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live on or near the Palouse, buy the whole fruit in person at Eggert Family Organic Farm or Affinity Farm in Moscow, Idaho, which also cultivates the rich, dense squash with bright orange as well as its seeds.

Joanne and Larry Kirkland are self-described … » More …