By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Along the Street: Hazelnut price well off record high

Hazelnut packers have agreed to pay a minimum of $1.22 per pound for field-run hazelnuts this year. That’s down 28 percent from last year’s record-setting $1.70, but still the second-highest season-opening minimum in industry history, according to the Hazelnut Growers Bargaining Association.

Despite the precipitous decline, Association President Doug Olsen characterized this year’s minimum as “a fair price for processors and growers.

Along The Street

David Bates covers local business and economics news for the News-Register.

He can be reached at 503-687-1228 or by e-mailing to dbates@newsregister.com.

“Considering the year, I think it’s a good price,” he said. “Everybody knew the price was going to come down. Last year’s was an anomaly.”

Terry Ross, representing Amity-based Integrated Seed Growers, negotiated with packers on the price. And he thinks its fair as well.

“Everybody has to realize it was a windfall year last year, and there was a lot of downward pressure on the market this year,” he said. “So what we’ve done is set a conservative minimum.”

Ross said several factors pushed this year’s price down, including a strong crop in Turkey, which dominates global production. Frost and drought damage cut into the Turkish crop last year, but it’s now harvesting a robust 700,000 metric tons this year, depressing demand.

 

SMALL WOODLANDS

Professor Emeritus Barbara Bond will deliver a talk titled, “Douglas Fir: The Icon of the Pacific Northwest from an Ecological Perspective,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the OSU Extension Service auditorium at 2050 N.E. Lafayette Avenue in McMinnville.

The doors will open at 6:30. Interested members of the public are invited at no charge.

Bond has a long association, as a teacher and researcher, with OSU’s Department of Forestry, Ecosystems and Society.

Her talk is being sponsored by the service, in conjunction with the Yamhill County Small Woodlands Association. A key focus will be the fate of Oregon’s signature Douglas fir under the stress of changing global climate.

 

NEW IN THE ER

Dr. Thomas Cronin has joined the emergency room staff at the Willamette Valley Medical Center. He is the fourth new physician to join the hospital staff in recent weeks.

Cronin studied electrical engineering in college, then spent more than a decade with Intel, before setting his sights on a medical career and enrolling at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine. He completed his residency requirements at the Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland before moving West for his new assignment.

The hospital is committed to reducing wait times for patients by adding staff and adopting new “fast-track” procedures.

 

PROJECT MANAGER

Heather Hadley Blank has joined McMinnville Economic Development Partnership in the newly created position of special projects manager.

The 15-year McMinnville resident is a University of Oregon graduate who previously served as events manager with the International Festival and Events Association, based in Port Angeles, Washington. She held similar positions previously with the Software Association of Oregon and InFocus Corporation.

Hadley-Blank will organize and direct meetings and events for MEDP, including a celebration planned next fall to mark its 10th anniversary. She will also manage its website and oversee its marketing and social media operations.

“We are delighted to welcome Heather on board,” said Executive Director Joy Christensen. “She brings a wealth of expertise and creativity to the team.”

 

WINERY EXPANSION

Stoller Family Estate has added 32,000-square-feet of new winemaking capacity at its Dayton site, supporting another 40,000 cases of annual production.

The expansion happens just in time for the fall harvest on 195 acres Stoller has under cultivation on a 373-acre tract in the Dundee Hills. It is expecting to process 750 tons of fruit from the acreage this year.

“It was a challenging growing season, given the heat,” said Vineyard Manager Robert Schultz. “However, our vines are in great condition, thanks to deep Jory soils that can tolerate extreme temperatures, and the cool evenings we’ve had in August.”

 

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Kevin Gebhart, a financial adviser affiliated with Edward Jones, will host a free one-hour seminar set for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the McMinnville Senior Center. It is titled “Focus on Fixed Income.”

The center is located at 2250 N.E. McDaniel Lane. It can be reached at 503-472-0234.

 

MINIMUM WAGE

Unless the Legislature intervenes next session, Oregon’s minimum wage will remain at $9.25 per hour in 2016, the state’s labor commissioner announced Wednesday.

Under state law, the hourly amount for paying workers is reviewed annually and adjusted to reflect the federal Consumer Price Index.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said housing and child care costs are actually climbing in Oregon, but federal CPI doesn’t fully capture those increases in communities like Portland and Eugene. He called for lawmakers to take action in the coming session to hike the Oregon figure, which is already one of the highest in the nation.

About 100,000 workers — some 6 percent of the workforce — are currently at the minimum wage.

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