By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Blueberry growers sought for research

Oregon State University is looking for some blueberry growers willing to help with a research project aimed at determining whether bordering fields with vegetation blooming from early spring to late fall will attract bumblebees and other native bees in search of pollen.

The hope is that while the bees are in the vicinity, they will pollinate the blueberries, which bloom only for a brief time in the spring, according to an article by Daniel Robison of the OSU staff. And entomologist Sujaya Rao suspects it’s well-founded.

“It’s very important to give native pollinators a reason to hang around blueberries,” Rao said. “Just one fruit crop with three to four weeks of bloom is not enough to sustain a bumblebee colony.”

Those willing to participate will be asked to plant a variety of native or exotic flora attractive to bees, such as rosemary, germander, California lilac, sage or red clover.

The plants will serve as food, not housing, for the bees. They make their homes in tree cavities and abandoned rodent burrows.

Researchers will estimate the number of native bees in both fields with added plants and without. It will also compare yields in those fields.

The research is part of a five-year project led by Michigan State University. Designed to address challenges faced by specialty crop industries throughout the country, it is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bees are essential to the pollination of blueberries, so Oregon growers typically rent hives, which can run more than $100 an acre.

In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, Yamhill County had an estimated 588 acres in blueberries.

For more information or participation inquires, contact Rao at 541-737-9038 



Greg Benavides has joined Cellar Ridge Energy Works in McMinnville. A wildlife biologist by training, he will be conducting home performance audits in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties. 

“We are very excited to bring Mr. Benavides aboard,” said John Mead, Cellar Ridge’s founder. “His background in the sciences makes him extremely valuable in the increasingly scientific industry of home performance.”

Benevides has lived in McMinnville for two years. He moved from California.

For more information, call 503-857-7569.



Nominations for Mary Pearmine Workforce Leadership Awards are now open. Applications for the awards, which offers scholarships to encourage entrepreneurial spirit, can be found on the Job Growers website at

The awards recognize outstanding efforts by companies, teams and individuals in workforce development, skill enhancement and the development of current and future workforces.

The scholarships that accompany them provide residents of Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties with small business training and support through a partnership between the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center and MicroEnterprise Resource Initiative and Training.  

The winners will be recognized at Sparkle of Excellence awards dinner, set for Tuesday, April 2, at the Salem Conference Center. For more information, contact Michelle Marling at



Yogis Studio has moved to Room 201 of the McMinnville Community Center, upstairs at 600 N.E. Evans St.

The studio hosts yoga and Pilates classes. It was formerly located at 540 N.E. Third St.

For more information, contact founder and owner Laura Pedroni at 



Those who bring any brand of gently used handbag or tote the week into La Bella Casa the week of Jan. 9-13 will receive 20 percent off Vera Bradley replacement products.

La Bella Casa is located at 406 N.E. Third St. in downtown McMinnville. The old purses will be donated to Henderson House.



The McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce has a greeters set to run 8 to 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at MVP Performance Training, 906 N.E. Eleventh St.

Newberg’s Chehalem Valley Chamber has one scheduled to run 8 to 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St.


Molly Walker, the News-Register’s business editor, can be reached at or 503-687-1272.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS