David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
“My name’s Kyle Nagy.

My title up here is Superintendent and Orchard Operations Manager.

This is the Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center.”

Early in the year the trees are still pretty bare here at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center in North Idaho, but it’s a different story later on when harvest season begins.

“Our center is focused on sustainable and organic agriculture in Idaho. Our focus is kind of on our orchard up here, we have a certified organic orchard that specializes in heritage and heirloom varieties of apples,” said Nagy. “So, we have about 70 different varieties of apples that we’re growing out there right now, along with a handful of pears, plums, cherries. And then we also have about a thousand feet of raspberry rows.

Everybody thinks there’s the 10 varieties that you see at the grocery store but since colonial times there’s been over 16,000 named varieties of apples in the United States and Canada alone.

The orchard was established back in around 2008 by Dennis Pence who was the founder and CEO of Coldwater Creek which was based here in Sandpoint. He was hoping to recreate an orchard that he kind of remembered growing up living in Ohio.

So, he kind of developed the plan for the orchard and everything and built out the beautiful facility we have up here for his use for non-profits and charities that he had in the area. And then the university acquired the property in 2018. I’ve been on site here since 2011 managing the orchard so, I tell everyone I’m like the old mule, they just sold me with the farm, so I came with the property.

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