Gold Dust Potato Processors’ 14th Annual Open House Field Day will certainly be a day to remember. Some may remember it for the weather; most will remember it for the good our guests did for our local chapter of Make-A-Wish.
The day started off at Mike and Wanda’s restaurant in Tulelake, California, where Bill kicked off the breakfast meeting with a few introductions of our guests from RaboBank, Paul Sproule and the “Sexy Lady”, Gold Dust’s latest addition. After a discussing the latest projects at Gold Dust and Walker Brothers, Jeff Gibson, Executive Director at RaboBank International, amused our guests with an entertaining yet informative talk about the interest rates and the global financial markets. Following him, Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association updated our visitors about the Klamath Basin’s current drought and how the KBRA would have made the situation different. Before everyone headed to Malin for the shed tour, our group watched a video about a Portland 8-year-old named Atticus. Atticus was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor and for his wish he’s asked Make-A-Wish Oregon for a scrimmage between his soccer team and the Portland Timbers.
At Gold Dust’s packing shed, our visitors checked out our current crop of potatoes, including several organic potato varieties we’ve been successfully growing, as well as toured the facility to see how the plant operates during shipping season. Since we couldn’t call it a Field Day without visiting some fields, everyone climbed into their rigs to meet the “Sexy Lady” after a quick group photo in front of the potato tables.
Though the morning was slightly cool with a few clouds overhead, as our group made its way to the Running Y the sky became a bit more dark and formidable. However, a few thunder clouds only made the “Sexy Lady”, the recently acquired “B” and “C” line fields at the Running Y Ranch, a little more dramatic. Our guests were shown the rich, black peat that makes these fields so “sexy” as well as a sample of the spuds growing beneath. As a part of the field visits, HoneyComb was going to give a demonstration of their latest ag UAV, but wind gusts topping 20 MPH kept the drone grounded. Instead, the HoneyComb crew discussed some of the latest federal regulations concerning drones, showed off the design of their latest UAV and fielded questions from our guests.
After a driving tour of the A-Line fields and lunch at the Running Y headquarters, it was time for golf! The clouds only grew blacker and distant thunder made a few folks wary of venturing onto the fairways and greens. But in true Klamath Basin fashion, the storm split, threatening the west side of the Basin with lightning and dumping buckets of hail and rain on its southern end while the Running Y resort was spared. Though a little breezy, the weather was perfect for swinging the clubs!
At the dinner that followed, Gold Dust and Walker Brothers’ guests were treated to a meal of chicken and beef as well as drinks. After everyone had a chance to eat, Weston introduced his wife, Katie, to the crowd. Katie and Jan have been working with the local chapter of Make-A-Wish Oregon. Last year was the first year Gold Dust used the Open House Field Day dinner as an opportunity to raise money for Make-A-Wish, and after Katie spoke about the good Make-A-Wish has done for kids with terminal illnesses in our area, our guests generously opened their wallets. By the end of the night, our guests had raised $4,500, which was matched by Gold Dust to bring the total cash donation to $9,000. On top of that, our guests donated another 150,000 airline miles! The energy generated from giving made everyone smile, and the knowledge that the funds will help local, Klamath County kids is great for our community.
Though the fundraising for Make-A-Wish was incredible, another amazing event that has been decades in the making was announced. Since 1974, Bill and John have weathered the ups and downs of farming together, and have grown two incredible businesses that will carry on their legacy. To celebrate their 40th anniversary of farming, they raised a cup not only to their success, but to the two women who made it possible – Bill’s wife, Jan, and John’s wife, Brenda. Without the support of their amazing wives, John and Bill concluded they would never have been able to do what they’ve done and thanked Brenda and Jan with two beautiful bouquets of flowers.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a traditional Open House Field Day without the golf awards!
Every Open House Field Day is fun, and this year’s was no exception. On behalf of the Walker Family to our guests, thank you very much for your support. We appreciate doing business with, and after seeing the generosity demonstrated at the dinner for Make-A-Wish, we work with amazing people. And we’d also be remiss if we didn’t thank Lexi for her hours of planning this event and keeping it moving along. We’d also like to thank the rest of our staff and crews – from the office to the shed and out on the farm, for getting our facilities and our fields ready to our customers and business partners. Thank you very much.