If you haven’t noticed, it’s our busy time of year again. Harvest started in August, and we’re already shipping potatoes. Even with all the action, last month, August 20th to be exact, we took a day to show off our fields and facilities for our 13th Annual Open House Field Day!
This year we had another successful Open House Field Day. The day began at Mike and Wanda’s restaurant in Tulelake, CA, with a breakfast meeting. While our guests enjoyed a hearty breakfast, Lexi Crawford gave a presentation about this year’s projects and where we’re headed. After Lexi finished, Greg Addington, chief executive of the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA), talked to the group about the water situation in the Klamath Basin.
We couldn’t call it a field day without actually visiting a field, so we headed out to two fields cared for by two of our growing partners – Huffman Brothers Farm and Staunton Family Farms. Both fields were an excellent representation of the quality chipping potatoes we ship to our customers, and the experience of the Huffman and Staunton families is greatly appreciated by Gold Dust. Once the field tours were finished, the group headed to our Malin processing plant. This year, instead of just talking about potatoes and showing off our packing shed, we had a drone demonstration put on by John Faus and Ben Howard of HoneyComb Corporation, and a talk about protecting potatoes after harvest led by Lucie Grant of Jet Harvest Solutions. We’ve never had presentations from outside companies that we’re working with, making this a first for our Open House Field Day.
For the UAV demonstration, the HoneyComb team launched a drone and programmed it fly over the chipping potato field just south of our solar panels. As the UAV flew its flight path, our guests could watch the real-time flight on a large monitor and then check out NDVI photos afterwards. Once the drone had landed and questions had been answered, everyone headed inside to hear how using organic, biological fungicides and pesticides could help potatoes last longer in storage. After Lucie finished, the crowd gathered around the samples collected from the fields and enjoyed Subway sandwiches before heading to the Running Y.
Why did we head for the Running Y? For the traditional golf scamble of course! After a group photo and instructions were given, the teams headed to various holes on the course to see which would bring home top (and bottom honors). Following the scramble, our guests headed back into the club house for a tri-tip and chicken dinner and to learn which team was top, which team was bottom, and who took home the longest drive and closest to the pin. So who did what?
1st Place: Paul Sproule, Eddie Staunton and Greg Addington
2nd Place: Matt Thompson, Patrick Hagen and Sanjay Prasad
Last Place: Tricia (Walker) Hill, Annie Sproule, Maria Contreras and Katie Walker
Longest Drive (Women): Nancy Reece
Longest Drive (Men): Jared Marshall
Closest To The Pin (Women): Nancy Reece (that’s not a typo – she’s that good!)
Closest To The Pin (Men): Mr. Kim
After the scramble awards were given, our partners, Bill, John, Weston and Tricia, thanked everybody for coming and helping our business grow. And with that, they presented long-time advisor and potato expert Duane “Sarge” Preston with a plaque and logo shirt to thank him for all of his years of advice and helping Gold Dust and Walker Brothers grow into the thriving businesses they are today. They also took a moment to thank Lexi, Sarah Mendez and Necia Phillips for their hard work on putting on another terrific Open House Field Day.
Another of the newest, and perhaps best, additions to the Open House Field Day was fundraising for Make-A-Wish Oregon. As you may have read in a previous post about our sponsorship of Make-A-Wish Oregon, this organization has become dear to the Walker family and Gold Dust employees. As Katie Walker, a Make-A-Wish wish granter, pointed out, the average wish costs $7,000 to grant. Throughout the course of the day, Gold Dust’s guests and employees raised $1,900 for Make-A-Wish, including the $400 cash prize the last place team donated. And more pledges are coming in!
Before we wrap up this post, Tricia, Weston, John and Bill would like to thank everybody for taking time from their busy schedules and joining us for our Open House Field Day. They hope everyone had a good time and we’ll see everyone again next year. And they’d be remiss if they didn’t give Lexi, Necia, Sarah, and Trish a big thanks for all of the help putting this event together and on the day itself. Thank you, ladies!