Fresh Thoughts: Celebrating in Tri-Cities


What a great first impression and experience!

Being new to the blueberry industry, I really enjoyed my first opportunity to participate in last week’s NABC/USHBC’s Fall Meetings. 

Over the course of our four days in eastern Washington, we had almost 250 people from across the country and throughout our industry join us in Tri-Cities, Washington. It was an action-packed week of meetings and events. 

It started off with an outstanding tour of the production region in eastern Washington that included visiting blueberry farms, watching hops being harvested and learning about the wine grape and apple production the area has become well known for. A big thank you goes out to Alan Schreiber and his team at the Washington Blueberry Commission for putting together a fantastic experience for our Fall Meeting attendees. One person commented on our recent tour survey that, “The 2019 farm tour was educational and enjoyable. The diversity of the crops and techniques were so interesting. A great value for the time and expense to attend.”

As a newcomer to the Fall Meetings and the industry in general, I couldn’t agree more. 

The next three days of meetings really impressed upon me just how instrumental and valuable the NABC – as the industry trade association – combined with the USHBC – as the research and promotion organization – is to the blueberry industry. There’s a lot of important work being accomplished and more underway to help advance each organization’s mission on behalf of the industry. 

It’s a powerful one-two punch, and I am excited to be a part of it. 

In addition to the meetings, I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday while we were all together in Washington. It was admittedly awkward to be standing in front of a meeting room full of people that have just met me, now singing happy birthday, but it really did make for a very warm welcome into my new role. 

Vicki De Bruin, me, Julie Fogarty, Rick Ruckman and Mandy Boarman

I also want to acknowledge the team here in the office that helped bring everything together. As you know – and I saw firsthand – there’s a lot that goes into coordinating and hosting these industry meetings. It’s “all hands on deck” to make things happen, and Mandy, Rick, Vicki and Julie did a great job ensuring everyone was well taken care of and accounted for. 

For those of you I wasn’t able to meet last week, I’d welcome any opportunity to jump on a Zoom video conference or call to discuss the NABC or USHBC. I’ve set up a link that quickly provides my availability so you can compare it with your calendar. It would be great to hear from you!

Also, I’m still collecting blueberry family photos. Please shoot me a photo of you and yours when you have a moment. 

Brittany Lee with her parents Dennis and Carrie of Florida Blue Farms

Thank you, Brittany, for sending me this one of you and your parents, Dennis and Carrie.

Thanks to all who attended the Fall Meetings and made them a roaring success! Here’s to more collegial events in the future!