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Ag Monthly | Crunch Pak has tails waggin’ over PAW Patrol snack trays

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PAW Patrol packaging for Crunch Pak's new snack trays for kids.

Crunch Pak has tails waggin’ over PAW Patrol snack trays

CASHMERE — Search-and-rescue dogs have sniffed out some healthy snacks for kids. And the name on the package is Crunch Pak.

The Cashmere-based sliced apple company has joined with kids’ entertainment company Nickelodeon to package healthy snack trays featuring characters from “PAW Patrol,” an animated TV series about super-smart search and rescue dogs.

The new product line launched recently with two snack pack trays — one containing apples, cheddar cheese, caramels and cinnamon dog bone cookies, and the other including apples, string cheese, grapes and the dog bone cookies.

Crunch Pak is thrilled to begin this new relationship with Nickelodeon,” said Megan Wade, Crunch Pak’s marketing and product manager. “PAW Patrol is sweeping the nation. It’s a fun way to teach children healthy food choices.”

The snack trays will also be featured in the “Bright Ideas” showcase of Southern Exposure, an industry trade show set for March in Tampa, Florida.


Experiencing labor pains

YAKIMA — Washington State Fruit Association President Jon DeVaney was making the rounds in Washington, D.C., last month to push for immigration reform.

It’s becoming more important year to year as the labor market tightens,” he said. “It’s good news that the economy is booming, but it makes it hard to find employees.”

Closer to home, the organization has been active in Olympia as well, backing Senate Bill 5689, called the “Keeping Washington Working Act,” which directs local law agencies to cooperate as little as possible with federal immigration enforcement officials. The bill is in response to fears that the Trump Administration will be more aggressive on enforcing immigration laws, which could be disastrous to the tree fruit industry. According to a story in the Feb. 6 Capital Press, the proposed bill is similar to one that went into effect in California.


Farm leadership opportunity

WENATCHEE — Tours of Wenatchee Valley agriculture and historic sites, along with workshops and a Saturday family game night are part of this year’s Washington Farm Bureau Leadership Conference, set for March 23-25 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

The farm bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization representing farm and ranch families.

Guest speaker is Mike Frank, who will talk about “8 Great Traits of Superstar Leaders.” Workshop topics range from public speaking skills and how to tell ag’s story to social media and bridging the generational divide.

The cost is $120.


Dealing with funky fruit

Dealing with Funky Fruit” and other practical wine-making information is part of the March 30 Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE) seminar at Tsillan Cellars in Chelan. The event runs from 9 to 2:30 p.m. For registration information, go to

The morning program, designed for growers, will share recent research on grape powdery mildew resistance and new sprayer technologies. The afternoon session on funky fruit will share practical winemaking information to help wineries coax the best out of their fruit. The event is hosted by the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance, Washington State University and the Washington Wine Commission.

The event is one of three WAVE seminars in the works . A March 15 event in Richland will cover managing grapevine viral diseases. An April 4 event in Prosser will include new sprayer technologies, irrigation strategies, vineyard salinity, smoke taint and managing tannins.


Wheat news on the fly

The Washington Grain Commission has a series of 20-minute weekly podcasts, “Wheat All About It,” that can be downloaded to your phone, computer or be streamed. They are, according to the commission’s website, “A way to listen to a magazine in your truck, tractor, combine or maybe even your easy chair with your eyes closed.”

Episodes 58 and 59, the most recent two episodes posted are a conversation with Aaron Carter, Washington State University winter wheat breeder, who talks about what makes a breeder tick and how wheat breeding techniques are opening doors to researchers. Going back a few weeks, Episode 57 features meteorologist Bryce Anderson who talks about the Pacific Ocean La Niña effect and his forecast for cold and wet conditions through the winter and into spring. His presentation, “Better Wet and Cold Than Hot and Dry,” also looks at changing weather conditions and climate change.

Wheat enthusiasts have access to all the past podcasts as well.


WAEF to host forum for ESL providers

WENATCHEE — The Washington Apple Education Foundation is hosting its sixth adult English As A Second Language Forum on March 23 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

The forum is for volunteers or paid staff members of organizations, businesses or agencies who teach adults English as a second language. Providers with experience, those new to the field and those considering starting a program are invited.

The first forum held in September 2015 was attended by providers from Yakima, Grant, Chelan and Okanogan counties.

It was started to help provide training and support for the teachers.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation has been providing funding for ESL programs for some time,” said WAEF Executive Director Jennifer Witherbee.

As part of that we go out and visit programs and we’re hearing from providers of the challenges they faced. Many of them had similar concerns.”

The foundation decided it could help by providing support.

We realized there was nothing in place for all the providers to get to know each other. So we figured one way we could help was to get them together to learn from each other, share their experiences and successes,” she said.

Surveys taken after each of the forums have been positive, Witherbee said.

Many of the providers who didn’t know each other before now reach out to talk about strategies and challenges, she said.

Since that first offering, forum participation has grown, with approximately 20 people attending each event representing various organizations.

Each forum builds on topics discussed in prior forums with the purpose of strengthening ESL offerings in central Washington by tackling top issues and concerns of ESL providers.

The March 23 event will cover three main topics:

  • Marketing your ESL program to potential participants
  • Using assessment methods to measure growth and student achievement
  • Establishing meaningful benchmarks

Facilitators familiar with the topics will help guide the discussion, but most of the content will be contributed by forum participants. Those attending are asked to bring examples from their own experiences.

The forum, set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free, but reservations are required.

For information call WAEF at 663-7713 or email waef@waef.org.

WAEF also provides funding for programs operating ESL and citizenship preparation classes. Grant applications for participants who have not previously received a grant from WAEF are available at waef.org/grants. Recipients of 2017 grants also have an opportunity to renew.

The Washington Apple Education Foundation is the charity of the tree fruit industry. Its mission is to impact lives through access to education. The foundation is best known for its scholarship program that supports students from the tree fruit industry with approximately $1 million annually with college support.