2020 Young Apple Leaders: Kylee Zdunic-Rasch

It’s unreal what goes into one apple. Just to see that is the most exciting part for me.

Kylee Zdunic-Rasch has embraced life on “The Ridge” in Sparta, Michigan. She calls it the heart of apple country and is passionate about her role protecting growers and orchards as a crop insurance agent and department manager with Newaygo Insurance Agency.

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Rob Verbridge

Rob Verbridge of J.H. Verbridge & Son Inc. is a fifth-generation apple grower. His family’s farm was founded more than 120 years ago, making this Young Apple Leader a natural successor to his family’s apple-growing legacy. Though Verbridge has been following in his father’s footsteps around the family orchard for as long as he can … Continued

Rinse & Refrigerate

A simple rinse under the tap is all that is needed to clean your apples. Upon arrival at the packing facility, apples are thoroughly washed to remove any dirt from the orchard. Once you’ve rinsed them, be sure to refrigerate your apples to keep them longer. By storing apples in the refrigerator, they will last … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Alex Buck

“Most people start as a grower. I’ve started on the other side and worked my way back to the growers,” says Young Apple Leader Alex Buck.  Buck started his career in produce with the retail chain Giant Eagle. There, he found his passion, which led to a role in wholesale. Though the standard practice at … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Sara Wells

Sara Wells is part of the rare bunch that fell into the apple industry by chance. When she applied to her current role through a staffing agency, she did not anticipate a career in the apple industry, let alone becoming so deeply involved that she is now a Young Apple Leader.  “When I went into … Continued

Food Safety & the Early Science of Toxicology

My family met up over the holidays in Salzburg. We mostly stuck together as a family, but on the last day we agreed each could go their own way to see something of particular interest to them. Some went in search of Sound of Music filming locations; others went to famous Austrian coffee houses. I … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Gilbert Plath

Gilbert Plath followed in his father’s footsteps through Washington apple orchards for much of his early life. His father was the head grower at Washington Fruit for many years, and Plath often spent time shadowing his father as he would advise growers.  After earning a degree in Business Economics from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Carley Brown

The summer Carley Brown graduated high school, she started 80-hour workweeks at Legacy Fruit Packers in Wapato, Wash.. As a daughter of fruit growers, she was familiar with the hard work of the cherry line.  After three summers, Brown was moved from the day shift to the night shift. She went from processing the paperwork … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Brooke Grobe

Brooke Grobe grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Ohio, and always had an interest in learning more about the business of agriculture. She chose a broad business major at Ohio State University that complemented her experience growing up on a farm—one that could land her a job in any facet of the … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Cailin Kowalewski

Growing up in Fredonia, N.Y., a village just minutes from Lake Erie, it’s no wonder that Young Apple Leader Cailin Kowalewski loves the apples grown in her home state. One of her favorite varieties is Empire, which was first developed at Cornell University. Kowalewski started her career there at the Cornell Cooperative Extension after completing … Continued

2020 Young Apple Leaders: Kylee Zdunic-Rasch

Growing up on flat land around corn and soybean crops, Kylee Zdunic-Rasch didn’t set foot on an apple orchard until she moved across the state to west Michigan in her twenties. Now, Zdunic-Rasch is a 2020 Young Apple Leader and interacts with apple growers each day–on both a personal and professional level. She is married … Continued