President’s Letter

Hi Everyone!
Well, look who is writing the President’s Message! If you were at the Spring Meeting on
April 8, you know that Dennis Strahle is the new MNFGA President. You would also
know that MNFGA is not a typo. We voted to add Fruit to the name of the Association.
Clay Ottoni has filed the appropriate paperwork so that we are legal in Michigan to be
called Michigan Nut & Fruit Growers Association. This seems so appropriate in that so
many of us grow nuts and fruits. Marc Boone commented that several people said that
they almost walked past the booth at the 2016 Michigan State Fair because they thought
we were only about nuts.

Which raises a related subject: member Ken Howe spent many hours perfecting the
current MNGA logo. With the name change, it is obsolete. It is not a simple thing to
create a logo that avoids copyrighted fonts or graphics. This will need further attention
so that Fruits are included in our logo. We are very sorry to see so much of Ken’s work
go to waste, yet it is important that MNFGA goes forward. Thank you Ken for the
current logo and please accept our apology for basically discarding your hard work only a
few seasons after it was created.

And, back to the Michigan State Fair: Marc Boone has agreed to chair this event for
2017. Thank you Marc! If you recall, there were at least 22 new members signed up at
the 2016 Fair. Our hats are off to Marc for his long hours at the 2016 Fair to make this
happen. He was there every day, all day. The 2017 Fair needs volunteers for five full
days on August 31 to September 4. There is also a press night on August 30 th in the
evening. I volunteered for a whole day last year and will do at least that much this year.
PLEASE plan to volunteer a half or whole day this year. It is a great way to meet people
interested in growing fruits and nuts. You do not need to be an expert to let people know
that growing nuts and fruits in Michigan is a rewarding diversion from the daily grind.
Please contact Marc or myself to learn more and to sign up. We will have a sign up at the
Summer Meeting.

Hey, the Summer Meeting! It is at Mike and Erica’s heirloom seed business in Ann
Arbor. Please see their description of the operation elsewhere in this issue. We thank
them very much for hosting MNFGA. The meeting is on Saturday, July 22 and starts
with a noon potluck. Bring a dish to pass if you are comfortable cooking/buying
something, and/or, maybe bring a friend to their first MNFGA meeting. Please also plan
to bring your own table service. Thank you Mike and Erica for hosting MNFGA. I am
really looking forward to seeing your kiwis, for which you are nearly famous.

Mark your calendar for the MNFGA Fall Meeting on September 23 at Nathan Mollberg’s
farm in Galesburg, MI, between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. We will start with a noon
potluck. Nathan has a young orchard and has invited us tour it. Thank you Nathan. 
Another big event is the Summer Meeting of NNGA and NAFEX at the University of
Georgia in Tifton, GA. You can learn more at If you are not
familiar, NNGA is the Northern Nut Growers Association and NAFEX is North

American Fruit Explorers. Either of these groups is like MNFGA on steroids. The event
in Tifton is a 4 day event with many presentations and farm/business tours. If someone
goes, it would be great to have a short report at either the Fall or next Spring meeting.
Not that we do not have enough happening with MNFGA…whereas the aforementioned
group is a larger gathering, I find great appreciation for the MNFGA farm and business
tours. Our members have an awesome diversity and it is always educational for me to
see. With than in mind, would someone be willing to host MNFGA for the either the
summer or fall 2018 meeting? Note that MNFGA picks up the cost of tables, chairs and a
tent (if these things are needed at your location) up to $500 (gotta keep it within
reason…fine china and marble tables are not our thing!). Please let me know if you are
willing to host and share the story of your labors.

I would like to share an MNFGA thank you for Trevor Newman’s labors as our President
for his 2+ years. Trevor is a business owner and knew that it would be a challenge to also
be President of MNFGA, but he said yes anyway…and then did an excellent job. Thank
you Trevor!

Also a huge thank you to Terry Calhoun, MNFGA’s new Secretary. Terry volunteered at
the Spring Meeting and was unanimously elected to office. Thank you Terry.
Alan Van Antwerp will be grateful if someone is willing to take over as MNFGA
Treasurer. Please consider it.

Also consider if you do not already use it, Michigan Nut & Fruit Growers is active on
Facebook. There have been some good postings and responses. It would be great to see
more members chiming in with progress reports for grafts, plantings, harvesting,
processing, recipes and whatever else. There are 206 members.
And, if you wish, you can renew your membership online through
using PayPal. Look through the website while you are there. Thank
you Trevor for keeping the website up-to- date.

Also in appreciation, thanks to Jim and Cecelia Fydroski for assembling, printing and
mailing the MNFGA News. It is no small task and it is vital to the organization for sake
of communication. They have been at it for many years and do an excellent job.
I am writing a lot here because I really do not want to take up any more of your time than
necessary at the Summer meeting…let’s enjoy the great food and conversation at the
potluck and then the wonderful Nature and Nurture tour…after the short business
meeting and fundraising auction (please bring an auction item).

Dennis Strahle
MNFGA President
Eagle, MI 517-204- 8600