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Crunch Time Apple Growers Honors Leaders in Apple Industry for Women’s History Month

Crunch Time Apple Growers Honors Leaders in Apple Industry for Women’s History Month



LOCKPORT, NY - Women in our industry are strong, wise, and excel at what they do, all while operating under pressure to set an example. I may not have a lot of time clocked in fresh produce, but I do have a lot of exposure to the women before me who have worked to the bone to make a name for themselves and future generations, generations like mine that are carving their own path to stand out and be valued fresh produce providers.

So, for Women’s History Month, Crunch Time Apple Growers brought forth a few fresh and fierce leaders in the apple industry. Join me in honoring them and many more in our wide world.

Dr. Susan Brown, a Cornell University Professor, is best known in the apple industry as a key developer of the SnapDragon® and RubyFrost® apples


Dr. Susan Brown, Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section Cornell AgriTech, and developer of SnapDragon® and RubyFrost® apples

“I’ve worked with several generations of growers at family orchards and have loved watching the transition from grandfathers to sons and daughters, and now, the next generation is taking leadership. I’m especially honored to work with the exceptional group that is Crunch Time Apple Growers, an entirely new type of organization where I’ve seen growers commit time beyond their own full-time operations to organize commercialization plans bringing Cornell apples, trademarked as SnapDragon and RubyFrost, to grocery stores across the country. This operation has so many talented and driven women at every level of the organization, from growers to sales agents to the group’s Executive Director, all working to make SnapDragon and RubyFrost everyone’s favorite apples.”

Jessica Wells leads Crunch Time Apple Growers as Executive Director and hopes for more gender equality in our industry and beyond

Jessica Wells, Executive Director, Crunch Time Apple Growers

“I often think about the world I want my three teenage daughters to grow up in—one where men and women are on equal ground. Women in leadership roles should not be rare or unusual. I am incredibly grateful to the Crunch Time Board of Directors and their trust in me as the organization’s Executive Director. Unfortunately, my experience prior to this role was not always as positive, as I held positions in which women could lead, but were not recognized through their job titles, fair pay, or gratitude. As we reflect on Women’s History Month, I hope we will continue to work toward gender equality in this industry and beyond.”

Kaari Stannard has invested 20 years into our industry and serves as President of New York Apple Sales’ Yes! Apples brand

Kaari Stannard, President, Yes! Apples

“For the past 20 years, it has been my privilege and passion to grow and share the best-tasting apples with our country and the world. While leading this charge for Yes! Apples, I have also had the opportunity to celebrate and empower the women on my team and in this industry. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreakTheBias, continues the movement toward gender equality where diversity and difference are valued and celebrated. I am inspired by the boundaries continuously pushed by this movement and am optimistic that we are working toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.”

Chelsea Van Acker is an apple grower and in charge of Yes! Apples’ food safety practices

Chelsea Van Acker, Grower, Manager of Food Safety and Grower Relations, Yes! Apples

“It is an honor to work with such a dedicated, innovative team from our growers and packers to our Yes! Apples sales and production team. Working with such a diverse group of people allows us to continue to learn and be creative every day. I believe we achieve more as a team, and I am thankful to be a part of such an outstanding group in our industry.”

Beth Brown, with her children and puppy in tow, takes care of the apple orchards as a grower and part of the Board of Directors for Crunch Time Apple Growers

Beth Brown, Grower, Board of Directors Member, Crunch Time Apple Growers

“Being an influential female in the industry provides a great sense of accomplishment and gratification. Having grown up on a farm, I have witnessed the shift of more women taking on significant leadership roles and influencing change. It is exciting to witness, but, more importantly, share in the building of the future of agriculture.”


Thank you to these wonderful ladies and all those in our fresh produce industry that make the world spin! I humbly ask that you, dear reader, take this time to reflect on the courage and grit women have taken in the past and celebrate their efforts, for we truly would not be here without them.

Crunch Time Apple Growers



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Crunch Time Apple Growers

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