Rod Farrow, co-owner of Fish Creek Orchards in Waterport, NY, has been named the 2017 Apple Grower of the YearSM by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazines, published by Meister Media Worldwide. Farrow will receive his award during the USApple Outlook and Marketing Conference, August 24, in Chicago, IL.
The Apple Grower of the Year award program, sponsored by Valent U.S.A., honors apple growers who have gone beyond the confines of the orchard and have, through their involvement and leadership, made a real impact on the apple industry.
Farrow was honored for developing a creative succession plan so the farm will continue to flourish, leading volunteer grower organizations, and hosting numerous trials to boost the knowledge level for all growers in the apple industry.
Farrow is well-known in the industry for encouraging fellow growers to adopt modern, high-density, intensively farmed orchards. He is currently president of the prestigious International Fruit Tree Association and has hosted countless Cornell University research trials.
Mark Mason, Tree Fruit Crop Manager at Valent U.S.A. — the award sponsor — says he finds Farrow to be an inspiration. “The Apple Grower of the Year celebrates the tenacious spirit of the American apple industry today and tomorrow,” Mason says. “Growers face a host of challenges every day. It’s growers like Rod Farrow who face these challenges head-on, look for proactive solutions and inspire the rest of us to do the same.”
Farrow is a first-generation apple grower, and the first honoree to be born outside the U.S. Growing up in England, he decided on a career in fruit growing, and did internships in France, Japan, and New Zealand, in addition to the U.S. In this country, he was fortunate to live and work with the family of George Lamont.
Besides being a big believer in sharing horticultural knowledge freely across the globe, Lamont was the 1997 Apple Grower of the Year. That makes Lamont Fruit Farm, now called Fish Creek Orchards, the only farm to be operated by two honorees — exactly two decades apart.
Lamont’s own children were not interested in following in their father’s footsteps, so he and his brother worked with Farrow to develop a plan so the ambitious Brit could eventually succeed them. It worked so well that two decades later, when Farrow’s own children said they weren’t interested in farming, Farrow developed a similar strategy.