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The Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association honored its Grower of the Year during its annual meeting and apple school Feb. 6.
The winner of the award, Wayne Pace, was recognized as an innovator who has adopted denser planting of young apple trees and invested in a wind machine to combat crop damage from spring frosts.
The Friend of the Apple Grower Award went to Bert Lemkes, the general manager of Van Wingerden International in Mills River. Lemkes has been active in urging local, state and federal officials to adopt an immigration policy that recognizes the need for migrant farm workers in the labor-intensive apple and nursery industries. Without reform, growers say, local farms could lose their ability to harvest the apple crop.
The Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association gave its Lifetime Grower Award to William Enloe, an Edneyville farmer.