CHICAGO — Bruce Grim, a leader in several apple industry organizations, is The Packer’s 2009 Apple Man of the Year.

Tom Karst, the newspaper's national editor, announced the award Aug. 20 at the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association’s Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference.

The Packer names its Apple Man of the Year

Grim, executive director of the Washington State Horticulture Association, Wenatchee, is mourning the recent loss of his wife, Candy, to cancer, and did not attend the conference.

Accepting the award on his behalf was Dale Foreman, owner of Wenatchee-based Foreman Fruit and the chairman of the Wenatchee-based Washington State Apple Commission.

“Bruce has been a fighter for growers and for the industry, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more,” Foreman said. “Through this terrible year, he’s kept his head high and done a remarkable job in all of his apple industry duties.”

In honoring Grim, the outgoing chairman of U.S. Apple, Karst cited his work not only for the horticulture association  and U.S. Apple, but also as the founding manager, in 2001, of The Marketing Associations, which brought together hundreds of Washington growers of apples, cherries and pears to create three Capper-Volstead marketing associations. 

Grim, who has more than a quarter-century of experience in the tree fruit industry, is still the manager of those organizations.  He  also served a term, in 2000, as chairman of the Washington State Apple Commission. From  1992 to 2001, Grim was a commissioner in that organization.

Grim played a central role on the strategic planning committee that charted U.S. Apple’s current course, said John Rice, president of Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co. And his work for the Washington Apple Growers Marketing Association, one of the three Capper-Volstead organizations, has been characterized, Rice said, by integrity, accuracy and honesty.

“He has made the association into a credible organization with real pricing power,” Rice said.

Ed Kershaw, co-owner of Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash., called Grim a “foxhole buddy,” a go-to guy for solutions and a respected leader with a big picture view of the industry.