The SugarBee® apple was created on a sunny spring day when an industrious bee carried pollen from an unknown variety and landed on a Honeycrisp tree and the SugarBee® apple was born. Grower Chuck Nystrom noticed the branch in his orchard as it produced a beautiful bi-colored apple that was crisp, sweet and juicy. The growers at Chelan Fresh agreed with Mr. Nystom and made the decision to grow the SugarBee® apple.
One of these growers is Harold Schell, who manages variety development to determine what new varieties will be friendly to grow, harvest, pack, and also have consumer appeal. Harold has been lovingly nick-named the “Manny”of SugarBee® apples, as he applies over 40 years of experience to nurture new varieties such as the SugarBee®.
Jeff LaPorte and his family are proud growers of SugarBee® and honeycrisp apples on their acreage. Jeff also works to advise many of our growers on best growing practices to produce high quality Chelan Fresh fruit.
Mark Stennes is a 4th generation grower and his family has farming roots that date back to the early 1900’s. The Stennes family is committed to create opportunities for future family members to become part of the family operation by growing a variety of apples, cherries and pears using both conventional and organic practices.
Tom Riggan was born into an agriculture family and followed his knowledge of apples, pears & cherries to working in sales and management. Tom rarely misses an opportunity to get out in the orchard and stay connected with the crops. He spends his remaining free time attending kids’ activities and long distance bike riding.
Jim Colbert brings 35 years of experience in Horticulture and pest management to his current position as Organic Program & Packaging manager at Chelan Fruit. His 3rd generation grower roots keep him passionate about spending time in his family orchard and when he can break away, he enjoys snow and waterskiing.
Dave Robison is a third generation farmer and has been farming since 1982. His home place is at 25 mile creek on Lake Chelan, but he also farms north of Chelan on Howard Flats. He and his wife have 120 acres in total. His favorite part of being a grower is interacting with people.
Many of our SugarBee® growers are part of 3rd and 4th generation families who are passionate about growing high quality apples, pears and cherries. They are committed to best agriculture and business practices so that their families can continue to farm for future generations.