Dwight Mickey, co-owner of Shatzer’s Fruit Market in Chambersburg, PA, was named 2012 Grower of the Year by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania.
“This is what you call a lifetime achievement award. It’s very prestigious. It’s still sinking in,” Mickey said. He received the award Jan. 29 at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, PA.
Mickey, 53, is one of less than half a dozen fruit growers in Franklin County to receive the award, said Maureen Irvin, executive secretary for the state association. In 2003, Jack Mickey, who is Dwight’s father and co-owner of Shatzer’s Fruit Market, was named Grower of the Year for the association.
Irvin said the award is given to a person making a significant contribution to the state fruit industry during the current year.
Mickey was nominated for the honor by members of the state association, according to Irvin.
Mickey is a fixture at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, where he has co-chaired the commodities booth at the annual state event for 27 years and been active for the state growers association for 30 years. “I help make sure the cider gets there, that everyone knows what to do and how to do it. I’m the one who has the so-called stress on how much cider to order. That’s been my job since the first year,” he said.
“We try to promote apples, apple products, and the money that is raised at the booth goes back into applied research in the fruit industry,” Mickey said. This year’s profits from the booth were $48,000, he said.
Mickey was brought into the family business before he could talk. “I grew up in here. My mom put me in the corner in a playpen or so I am told,” Mickey said. “Then, when I was about 9 years old she put me on the cash register.”
But, there’s no other job he’d rather be doing, he said. “I like seeing your hard work come out into beautiful fruit at the end,” he said.
During his career, Mickey has received many industry awards. He has earned more than 3,500 ribbons, 60 best of class and six best bushels at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.