RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — If you do something well for 75 years, you should probably keep doing it.

The California Grape and Tree Fruit League celebrated its 75th anniversary at its annual meeting March 13-15, and while it’s fundamentally unchanged in its mission from 1936, it has plenty new to celebrate.

Outgoing chairman David Marguleas of Sun World, said 2010-11 was a year of many accomplishments.

The league:

  • posted successes in fighting pests;
  • recorded record membership dues;
  • added blueberry and cherry industries to its mission;
  • had success in fighting card check legislation, which would give unions more power against growers; and
  • had a positive relationship with then-candidate and now California Gov. Jerry Brown.

League president Barry Bedwell said members learned a lesson in the 2010 elections. While Republicans rode a wave into power in state governorships and legislatures, into the U.S. House of Representatives and made gains in the U.S. Senate, California bucked the national trend, keeping its Democratic majorities and electing a Democratic governor.

“In California, we are different and unique and there are different challenges here,” Bedwell said.

He said the league takes seriously its job to get along with both political parties and get grape and tree fruit growers’ message out there.

“We can’t demand respect and understanding,” Bedwell said. “We need to communicate it.”

The league welcomed incoming chairman, Steve Hash, owner of Steve Hash Farms. Hash said next year’s annual meeting will be at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.

California Grape and Tree Fruit League marks 75th year

Greg Johnson

Barry Bedwell, California Grape and Tree Fruit League president, talks with Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president, during the CGTFL annual meeting.