Mar 4, 2019
Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association elects directors

The general membership of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) held its Annual Meeting on Jan. 30, 2109, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center during the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.  The results of the mail balloting for the election of five Association Directors were announced. The members voted to amend and re-adopt the Constitution as By-Laws as recommended by the Board of Directors.  They also adopted additions to the Association’s Policy Resolutions besides receiving reports on the Association’s activities for the year.

One new director elected to board

Tina Forry of Palmyra was elected to her first term on the Board of Directors by the members in the mail balloting.  Also elected for three-year terms by the members were incumbent Directors Barron Hetherington, William Reynolds, Robert Shenot and Jonathan Strite. Incumbent Director Alan Kemmerer was also elected to a three-year term on the board by the board of directors.  Matthew Christner of Dawson, Jennifer Glenister of Hustontown, and Adam Voll of Wexford had also been nominated as directors but were not elected.

David King and Timothy Weiser, whose terms expired at the annual meeting, chose not to run for re-election. The terms of seven directors expired this year, but in a plan to reduce the number of Directors gradually from 21 to 18, only six directors were elected this year. The board was expanded from 18 to 21 in 2017 to 2018 to allow the directors to elect one member each year to insure diversity on the board of in terms of gender, geographic region, industry segment or expertise. However, upon further reflection, it was felt it would be better to maintain the size of the board at 18, so beginning this year, the members will only elect five directors each year and the Board will elect one member.

Until 2012, members of the board of directors were elected by the members attending the annual meeting.  Since only about 30 to 50 members typically attend the annual meeting, it was hoped electing the directors by a mail ballot would encourage greater participation in the election process, which it has.  This year there were about 141 ballots cast by members.  This year’s ballots were counted by election judges David Miller, Beth Gugino and Robert Baronner.

Brief biographies of the newly elected directors are as follows:

Tina Forry – Tina along with her husband Greg and five children operate Risser Marvel Farm Market in Annville. They have operated the market the entire season since 2007 since the Marvel’s retired but since 1991 they had operated it during the fall after the Marvel’s closed. They have two high tunnels and grow about 25 acres of fresh market vegetables for their retail market that also features canned goods and local baked goods. In the spring they offer pick-your-own strawberries and in the fall a corn maze. They end the season with Christmas trees.  Tina enjoys marketing and served as president of the Pennsylvania Retail Farm Market Association.

Alan Kemmerer – For the past 27 years I have owned and operated Kemmerer Farms in Columbia County. Growing fresh market vegetables on approximately 250 acres for wholesale markets as well as producing vegetable transplants for other growers in PA and NJ. Crop mix currently consists of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, bell pepper, eggplant, and tomatoes. Prior to this I worked as a loan officer for Northeastern Farm Credit for 3 years after college. I presently serve on the state Labor & Safety Committee for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the PVGA Government Affairs Committee and, for the last two years, the PVGA Board of Directors.

William Reynolds – Bill and his wife Lois have a 106-acre produce and grain farm located in Franklin County. They grow mainly pumpkins, gourds, and some watermelons.  Most of the produce is sold retail at their farm market and fall festival, with some being sold wholesale. During the months of Sept. and Oct., they have a fall festival which has pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a large play area, a corn maze and grass maze. Through the week, they schedule school tours with an educational talk about their farm and growing pumpkins, as well as beekeeping. They have also attended the Gettysburg Farmer’s Market and Bill is past president of Gettysburg Farmer’s Market as well as being a member of the PVGA board for five terms.  He has served on the PVGA convention planning committee and is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Association.

Jonathan Strite – Jon is a 1998 graduate of Middletown Area High School and 2001 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with degrees in horticulture and ag-business. Upon graduation from college he returned to his family’s farm full time.  Strites’ Orchard was established in 1914 and currently consists of 300 acres split equally between fruits and vegetables. Their main focus is the fresh market with 95% of their produce being sold through their on-site farm market that has been in operation since the 1950’s and which now includes a CSA. They also operate several greenhouses where they grow bedding plants as well as all of the vegetable transplants that they use throughout the year.  They also have added a high tunnel for early season tomato production.  Jon’s primary role on the farm has been production. He has served three terms on the Board of Directors and is the current President of the Association.

Barron Hetherington – Boots and his wife Robin operate B & R Farms in northwestern Schuylkill County. Daughters Katie, Morgan and Blair represent the seventh consecutive generation to live in the farm house on Strawberry Lane. Boots and Robin farm 300 acres grain, hay, and produce. Robin starts off the growing season with hanging baskets and bedding plants in her greenhouse range. Asparagus and high tunnel tomatoes soon follow. The Hetheringtons are best known in their local area for their U-pick strawberry operation. Early sweet corn under plastic follows strawberry season with retail and wholesale sales of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and Indian corn continuing through October. Boots served several years as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees and made “Strawberry Surprises” all week at the PVGA Farm Show Food Booth for many years. Boots served on the PVGA Board for 24 years, including two years as president, before stepping down in 2011 to serve as a Special Advisor to Gov. Corbett for four years. At the Department of Agriculture he was in charge of the state grants to the local fairs across the state. He was re-elected to the Board in 2016.

Robert Shenot – Rob is a 6th generation grower from Wexford, Allegheny Co.  Rob, along with his wife Leah and his parents run a 100+ acre fruit and vegetable farm consisting of 20 acres of orchard (apple and peach), and a wide variety of vegetable crops. The Shenots market their produce through their own retail market located on the farm which is situated in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Rob graduated from Penn State in 2001 with a B.S. in Horticulture and now lives on the farm.  Rob is a current Director who has served four terms on the Board of Directors and is a former President of the Association.

The PVGA Board of Directors (left to right – front row) Rita Resick (2nd Vice President), Tina Forry, Amy Metrick, Brian Campbell (1st Vice Presdient), and Jeff Stoltzfus.  (back row) Rob Amsterdam, Bill Reynolds (Secretary-Treasurer), Peter Flynn, Art King, Jon Strite (President), Chris Harner, Ken Martin, Boots Hetherington, and Mike Orzolek.  Not pictured:  Dave Miller (Past President), John Shenk, Mark Troyer, Rob Shenot, Chris Powell and Alan Kemmerer. Photo: PVGA

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