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Dean’s Visits Highlight College’s Role in Washington Tree Fruit, Medicine

Man holding apple, smiling
CAHNRS Dean André Wright and Stemilt President West Mathison sample apples at Stemilt Grower’s warehouse and distribution center in Wenatchee.

From touring fruit orchards in Wenatchee to discussing CAHNRS collaboration with faculty at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane, new CAHNRS Dean André Wright is building relationships across the state.

Several people talking in an orchard.
Stemilt’s Kyle Mathison talks custom compost and the challenges of growing cherries at high elevation as he leads a tour through the Stemilt cherry orchards.

“I like to bring people together,” he says. “And you can’t do that effectively without establishing good relationships. It all starts with listening.”

Listening was the focus of Wright’s trip to Wenatchee. On August 2, he and Associate Dean of Research Scot Hulbert attended a roundtable discussion with members of the Tree Fruit Research Commission, followed by a tour of the Stemilt Grower’s cherry orchards. Fourth-generation grower Kyle Mathison led the CAHNRS delegation to the top of Wenatchee’s Stemilt Hill, where late-producing Staccato® cherries were being harvested.

On August 3, Wright met with Stemilt president West Mathison and Washington Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover for a tour of Stemilt Grower’s tree fruit warehouse and distribution center. The fully-automated, 500,000 square-foot facility is the first of it’s kind in the US.

Following the Stemilt tour, Fryhover accompanied Dean Wright through McDougall and Son’s Legacy Orchard in East Wenatchee.  McDougall and Son’s co-president Scott McDougall led the tour, showcasing research the orchard is doing on fruit shading mechanisms. His thriving WA 38 plantings were of special interest, as the industry and WSU eagerly await the Cosmic Crisp® apple’s market debut in 2019.

A group of people talking in an orchard
McDougall and Son’s Co-president Scott McDougall explains his steep V trellis system to CAHNRS Dean André Wright at the Legacy Orchard in East Wenatchee.

Med School Visit

Two men talking in a classroom
Dr. Glen Duncan discusses the role he envisions for CAHNRS in nutrition studies that start with where food is grown.

On August 7th, Wright visited WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM), where he discussed opportunities for CAHNRS research collaboration with Dean John Tomkowiak and Vice Dean for Research John Roll.

Following that meeting, Dr. Glen Duncan, Chair of the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program, led Dean Wright on a tour of the medical school’s Human Nutrition Kitchen, where Dr. Duncan and his students conduct research on nutrition and health outcomes. Duncan is passionate about the role WSU plays as a land grant institution charged with community research extension and sees collaboration with CAHNRS as a seamless fit, allowing for the study of nutrient deposition from soil to society. Dean Wright’s pioneering research in the gut microbiome and his past appointments as medical school faculty uniquely position him to bring CAHNRS and ESFCOM together.

It is, after all, just the kind of thing he likes to do.

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