Jeff Crist, owner of six orchards in New York's Hudson Valley and a leading industry voice in Washington, D.C., received the Apple Man of the Year at the U.S. Apple Outlook and Marketing Conference, Aug. 23, in Chicago.

Presented jointly by The Grower and its sister publication, The Packer, the annual award recognizes industry leadership.

In presenting the award, Tom Karst, The Packer's national editor, cited Crist's work as a grower and an industry advocate.

Crist, a co-owner of Crist Bros. Orchards Inc. in Walden, N.Y., is an officer and past chairman of the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association, the host of the conference and of the New York Apple Association. He also has served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee.

Nancy Foster, president of U.S. Apple, says Crist has played a central role in all of the major decisions the association has made during her tenure.

Food safety, China, the Farm Bill and labor are among the issues Crist continues to pursue on behalf of the apple industry, Foster says.

"He knows members of Congress personally, and he works very closely with other growers. He has the ability to inspire people and make sure the right things happen and he's always looking to the future," she says.