Orchard View’s Director of Field Operations, Ian Chandler was interviewed on Discover The Dalles

Hello and welcome to You Be All You Are TV. I’m your host Brad Harmon and today my guest is Ian Chandler with Orchard View Inc. Ian welcome to the broadcast.

Thank you!

Ian, we’re glad we could take time out of your busy schedule to join us to talk about all the beautiful cherries and what’s going on at Orchard View Inc. Now your responsibility there is… you’re the field operations manager?

I’m the Director of Field Operations.  So what I do is, I’m responsible for all of the farming for the 2500 acres that we farm.  We farm primarily cherries, but we also farm some pears, apples, wine grapes, prunes and plums.  So, we’ve got a lot of different things to worry about.

You’re in a busy man. I’m glad that we could get you out of the field for a minute to chat with us.  Tell us a little bit about what’s going on at the on the farm, out in the orchard right now.

We finally have gotten some nice dry weather here, which after a cold wet winter is a welcome change.  Currently right now we’re getting ready for harvest, obviously, it will start about a month from now. That means the spray teams are out there making sure that we’re putting on our fungicides and our sprays to make sure that we grow quality fruit.  Also, this time of year is when we replant new orchards so we’ve got crews out there – they’re planting baby trees and starting the next generation of orchards.  But it’s a busy time, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on.  It’s finally getting warm so we can start irrigating, but there’s a lot of work to be done to produce the quality fruit that we’re known for.

Orchard View's Director of Field Operations Ian Chandler

Orchard View’s Director of Field Operations: Ian Chandler

That’s exciting! I know springtime is always fun and it’s always fun with new orchards.  I remember having my grandpa plant new orchards when I was a kid.  That was a lot of fun.  I did a little bit of snooping and on Facebook I found some pictures that they posted of you just a couple weeks ago on the Facebook page. it looks like it was a beautiful season for the blossoms. Tell us about the cherry blossoms and stuff…  that was a couple weeks ago?

So, the picture there you see of me, obviously, the camera puts on 20 pounds, some I claim, that’s one of our trellis systems, which is a new architecture for orchards we’re using over in a location we have in Dallesport, Washington.  It’s a high density new system that we use to try to get the trees into production faster by using wires that guide the trees instead of pruning.  But what we have there, as you can see the little brown clusters there on the pictures, those are the young cherries that are starting to develop, that’s what’s left of the bloom after of bloom starts to dry out.  At this time of year now the bloom is all done with and what you’ll see on the trees is the little green cherries that are starting to grow.  We’ve had really good bloom and we’ve had good weather conditions for the cell division which is when the cherry really gains its size, so everything is looking really good for a high-quality season. Our horticultural teams are out there making sure that we have the right amount of irrigation going, the right amount of fertilizer, everything that the tree needs to grow quality fruit.

That’s exciting Ian, thank you for sharing that with us.  You know, you do work in one of the most beautiful places on earth, I swear. It’s just beautiful up there. As part of the field operations,  you’re kind of involved with the fruit and making sure that it is high quality,  but you’re also part of working with the team.  Last month we had Melissa on from human resources and she was bragging about what a wonderful place Orchard View is to work.  Tell us your experience about that and why you love working there.

Orchard View's Spring Cherries are looking Great

Orchard View’s Spring Cherries are looking… Great!

Well, I come from a military background.  In the military, you have redundancies and you have structure, which is very important to provide stability to your workforce, so they know who they report to, how things are supposed to work and we’ve got a great team here at Orchard View. We go with more supervision in terms of leadership and a lot of other operations do and we feel it’s important that you know to really support our staff with everything that they need.  Also, I feel as though we’re an employer of choice for people.  We go with the philosophy that every employee is a human being and they want the same thing as everybody else wants in life, so if you focus on how you treat your employees based on how you would want to treat yourself, or other people and your family, you’re going to be successful.  You know, it’s all about taking care of your workforce and they’ll take care of you.  We’ve got a great professional team that knows their job well.  We’ve got some incredible individuals working for us and there’s a reason that we grow such high-quality fruit.

That’s amazing. You know that you’re set up to take care of the individual because when you guys get going on harvest season, you guys have, what is it, almost a thousand people running around out there between picking and packing and so that’s very important that you help each person be successful.

Well, our job is specifically when we have seasonal workers come up there helping us harvest the crop, we want to keep them happy, and they’re happy when they have stability when they’re making good money and they don’t have to be waiting or have things be inconvenient.  We have high quality camps for our workforce.  We make sure that we set the conditions for them, so that they can maximize their earning ability while they’re with us, and that comes from the logistical planning and movements that our well-trained full-time staff can provide to these seasonal crews.

That’s wonderful. Yeah, there’s nothing worse than trying to make a living when there’s not the systems and the organization and the structure to help you get your job done and make a decent paycheck, and it sounds like you guys have everything in place for that so it makes it just a great place to work so you can get your job done and make a living.

Absolutely. All boats rise on the tide. So you succeed for us and its success for them, and it’s all interconnected.

Excellent. Thank you for talking about that.  Now let’s look forward a little bit. Cherries are coming… what’s the crop going to be like this year? Have we got any specific varieties that are going to be super awesome? Because you know, we’ve had a long, wet winter and then a cool spring, but like you just said, I think we’ve got eight to ten days of beautiful sunshine forecast, the temperatures are going to be up in the 8o’s and 90’s within the next week.  Tell us what we’re looking forward to in the cherry crop.

Orchard View Cherries - cherry blossumsWell we should see now, with these warmer temperatures, the trees are really going to…  the metabolism of the trees is going to… are going to speed up. So, what you’ll see is a big increase in size of the cherries. I guess it’s like a baby in the womb and they get the nutrients they need to grow and they fill out.  So, what we’re…  what we’re hoping for this year, and what it looks like from our initial estimates going out in the orchards, is a good-sized crop, high quality.  It’s not an over set, so that means we won’t have too much fruit, but we’ll have the right amount that you can optimize the quality. The tree won’t be overly stressed by having too much fruit. It will have just the right amount but it will also have enough, that the amount of buckets that the pickers can pick is going to be good, so everybody’s going to be successful this year.  It’s looking really good.

That’s exciting! You know a lot of people…  like my wife, she just thinks the cherries show up in a package at the grocery store and you bring them home and you know, you eat them while they’re fresh. But there’s a lot of work that goes into getting those cherries out to the people and you know working on my grandpa’s orchard as a kid I remember those things.  But not everybody knows that, so we appreciate you coming on today and sharing what life is like on Orchard View Farms.

Well, thank you very much for having me.

You’re welcome and we hope that we’ll see you or another member of your team on again real soon and thank you for joining us on You Be All You Are TV.

Thank you very much. Have a good day.