(Jan. 16, 3:54 p.m.) Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers Inc. will be featured on a PBS show highlighting American agriculture.

A 10-minute segment on Stemilt, featuring the company’s late founder, Tom Mathison, his son Kyle and grandson Tate, will run nationwide Jan. 21 on the America’s Heartland series, said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director.

“Their focus is on family farming, on special stories beyond creating the product,” Pepperl said.

The journalists who reported the Stemilt story for PBS focused on how family separates Stemilt from some other companies, Pepperl said.

“The big thing was family dynamics — not necessarily what we do better or worse, but what sets us apart,” he said.

In the segment, filmed in August, Tom Mathison, who died Dec. 26, shares stories about the early years of the company. Kyle Mathison gives a tour of cherry orchards during harvest. Tate Mathison leads viewers through Stemilt’s largest packing facility.

The segment was filmed in what the company calls The Amigos, a high-elevation orchard located on a ridge above Stemilt Hill, Pepperl said.

The filmmakers were particularly interested in how Stemilt is able to grow cherries at such a high altitude. Doing so allows the company to ship cherries for Labor Day sales, Pepperl said.

The PBS segment also will touch on Stemilt’s composting, water management and other sustainability efforts, Pepperl said.

One highlight will be footage of falcons, which the company uses to scare away birds during harvest, Pepperl said.

For the company, and for many in the produce industry, the segment will be remembered also for containing some of the last video shot of Tom Mathison, Pepperl said.

To find out at what time the segment will run, visit americasheartland.org and search for episode 421.

Stemilt Growers to appear in PBS show
Tate Mathison (left), Kyle Mathison and West Mathison of Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash. A 10-minute segment on Stemilt, featuring the company’s late founder, Tom Mathison, his son Kyle and grandson Tate, is set to run nationwide Jan. 21 on PBS’ America’s Heartland series.

Courtesy Stemilt Growers