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Northern grower takes helm of Michigan Apple Committee

Contact: Holly Whetstone
(800) 456-2753

(DeWitt, Mich.) -Northern Michigan apple grower Mark Doherty is the new chairman of the Michigan Apple Committee, a grower-funded state organization devoted to the promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption.

The Traverse City resident was elected to the one-year term by fellow MAC board members.  Doherty replaces chairwoman Julia Hersey, who will continue to serve on the MAC executive board as its third member.  Grower Scott Lewis of New Era was elected vice chairman.

Doherty, who has been on the MAC board since September 2003, has 18 years of experience working as a pest-management and fertilization consultant for more than two dozen fruit growers in northwest Michigan.  He brings to the table a variety of views about the industry and the challenges growers face.

“I look forward to working with my fellow board members to help keep Michigan a leader in providing great-tasting, high-quality apples,” he said.  “Growers here have a great deal of pride in their craft and their hard work has paid off handsomely – earning Michigan the distinction as one of the top three apple producers in the nation.” 

Doherty's first experience with the industry was during his youth when he spent time working in the orchards near his hometown of Traverse City.  After earning a horticulture degree from Michigan State University in 1983, Doherty worked with Dave German Orchards near Belding and Stanek Brothers of Leelanau County.  He joined Jim Laubach's HortSystems, a Traverse City horticultural consulting firm, in 1989.

For the past decade, Doherty has also operated Russell Ridge Farms north of Elk Rapids, in partnership with King Orchards.  Russell Ridge Farms has 20 acres of high-density apples entirely on trellises at 500 to 850 trees per acre.

For more information about the Michigan apple industry, visit MichiganApples.com.