Apple business is better with family

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  • Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Abraham Salgado Jr. dumps Granny Smith apples into a bin at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

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    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Granny Smith apples fill a bin at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

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    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald A worker fills a picking bag with Granny Smith apples at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

  • Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Abraham Salgado Jr. dumps Granny Smith apples into a bin at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

  • 1

    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Granny Smith apples fill a bin at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

  • 2

    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald A worker fills a picking bag with Granny Smith apples at Salgado Orchards near Ephrata.

EPHRATA — The Salgado brothers got into the apple and cherry business the way a lot of kids do – their dad took them along when he went to work.

Abraham Salgado Sr. started out working for others, picking, pruning and thinning in orchards around north central Washington. A 30-year veteran of the tree fruit business, he worked hard enough to buy his own properties and work for himself.

Sons Abraham Jr. and Victor often tagged along. “We grew in up in the orchard, all our lives,” Victor said. Running around, taking a nap in the car, occasionally sneaking an apple – all a lot of fun until Dad noticed they were pretty good at picking fruit.

“He tricked us into picking,” Abraham Jr. said.

Salgado Orchards is about 40 acres, Abraham Jr. said, apples and cherries, spread between Wenatchee, Palisades and Ephrata; the brothers, who live in Wenatchee, were picking the Ephrata orchard Friday morning. They didn’t necessarily plan to get into the business, Victor said, but Dad needed some help.

“We try to do most of it when we can,” Victor said.

It’s not bad work, outdoors on a nice fall day. Most days outside in the orchard are good, some are not so good – but hey, not every day can be good, Abraham Jr. said.

The tree fruit business is always evolving, and for young guys working a family orchard there’s always a lot to think about. How to improve fruit quality, how to make it easier to pick and prune. Keep the cherries? Cherries “are a gamble sometimes,” Abraham Jr. said, but when they’re profitable they’re pretty profitable. Replant some of the orchards? But an orchard takes a few years to produce a crop.

Those are questions to be answered after harvest. Harvest is six to nine weeks, depending on the varieties planted, and harvest waits for no one. It’s a lot of work. But “there’s nothing wrong with a little hard work,” Victor said.

And it’s fun to work in a family business. “Nothing better than working for your family,” Abraham Jr. said. Hey, it’s OK to take a day off every once in a while, be late every once in a while, “and we get coffee and donuts now and then.”

Family just makes it easier. “You fight and then you’re friends again the next day,” Abraham Jr. said.

“You have to be,” Victor said. “You have to get back to work. Back to business.”

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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