Sullivan honored as grower of the year
By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI
PORTLAND -- Roughly 14 years ago, John Sullivan left the world of finance in Chicago and resettled in Oregon to run a hazelnut farm.
The 70-acre orchard near Vida, Ore., was planted by his wife Carol's grandfather in the 1930s and offered a welcome alternative to retirement.
"It was a viable business," said Sullivan. "Carrying on the tradition of the family was extremely important."
Sullivan's accomplishments in the hazelnut industry since 1999 have earned him the distinction of "Grower of the Year" by the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
Through his involvement in several industry organizations, Sullivan provides a "10,000-foot" perspective on issues facing hazelnut growers, said Polly Owen, manager of the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board.
For example, as treasurer of the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, Sullivan has helped steer discussions on expenses, food safety and royalties for new cultivars.
"As a gatekeeper of grower dollars, he ensures decisions are in sync with grower and handler wishes," said Owen.