The OVS Blog

2022 OVS Trade Shows - December

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December 2022 Trade Shows


WIN Expo

December 1st, 2022

Booth #821

Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Santa Rosa, CA

Get more info here


NW Hort Expo

December 5th - 7th, 2022

Booth #414

Wenatchee Convention Center

Wenatchee, WA

Get more info here

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2022 OVS Trade Shows - November

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November 2022 Trade Shows


Sustainable Ag Expo

November 14th - 16th, 2022

Madonna Inn

San Luis Obispo, CA

Get more info here


Willamette Valley Ag Expo

November 15th - 17th, 2022

Booth #23

Linn County Expo Center

Albany, OR

Get more info here


Pacific Northwest Veg Association (PNVA) Annual Conference & Trade Show

November 16th - 17th, 2022

Booth #46

Three Rivers Convention Center

Kennewick, WA

Get more info here


Washington Grape Society (WSGS) Annual Meeting

November 17th - 18th, 2022

Church of the Nazarene

Grandview, WA

Get more info here


Washington Small Fruit Conference

November 29th - 30th, 2022

Booth #104

The Farm Pavilion & Expo Center

Lynden, WA

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Women in Ag Spotlight - Susan Sokol Blosser

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Susan Sokol Blosser started her winery in 1971, in the Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon with her husband, Bill, and was one of the few wineries in Willamette Valley at the time. Susan was never in agriculture before starting the winery. It was first her husband’s idea and she thought it would be a great adventure so they went for it! The pair started out with 18 acres on what was previously an Italian prune orchard that was destroyed in the Columbus Day Storm (1962). Now, they have an estimated 120 acres that make up the Sokol Blosser Winery (now run by her children Alison and Alex).

We asked Susan about her role models when starting up. At the time, there were very few vineyards in the area, as most surrounding area was wheat fields. Throughout the years, Porter Lombard, a member of the Oregon State University (OSU) team advising Willamette Valley grape growers and wineries was very helpful. Bernadine Stick, also of OSU, aided in working through Phylloxera in the vineyards.

As Susan was new to the agriculture world, we asked how she has continued learning throughout the years. One of the first things she did was take an accounting class to learn about debits and credits. She was a liberal arts major in college and needed to learn basic accounting for her new winery adventure. They also participated in a cover crop experiment  with local organizations and was part of a biodynamic study group to learn biodynamic farming. She worked with consultants to learn and also dug into reading to increase her knowledge.

We asked Susan if there have been any difficulties being a female in agriculture. Two of the biggest struggles to date have been being listened to and taken seriously in this industry. We certainly think she is taken seriously now! Susan’s accomplishments go far beyond her successful winery. She was also involved in founding the International Pinot Noir Celebration, the Oregon Pinot Camp and the Oregon Women in Wine groups. Additionally, she has served on a number of non-profit boards including OMSI, Marylhurst University and the Oregon Environmental Council. Most recently, she founded the Yamhill Enrichment Society (YES), whose mission is to transform the lives of Yamhill County children through literacy and music enrichment. (

When Susan is not dedicating her time to work, community development, or volunteering, a few of her favorite activities include gardening, reading, knitting and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She is also a beekeeper for the winery apiary! Mentioned earlier---her growing list of accomplishments, in her “spare” time, Susan has published five books and is working on the next! Where does she find the time?

Finally, we asked Susan to share some insight or advice to other females in the industry or those interested in getting into agriculture. She said that being in agriculture has given her a feeling of finding her place. It’s an industry that gives back and is full of life. Her vineyard is vertically integrated so they grow their own grapes. She is on the growing/farming side—not the wine production side. Managing a vineyard in the 80’s gave her so much purpose, especially learning as she went. She told us a story that kept us smiling—when she first started in the vineyard, they actually purchased geese to put help eat some of the weeds, etc. Little did she know at the time that birds happen to love grapes! Now, it’s all vineyard managers can do to keep birds out of vineyards. She shared an old photo of one of the geese, Papa Goose, on the property. She continued that agriculture and farming is a lifestyle where everyone can find a place and be connected to the land and make a difference. Everything is interconnected with the land, the plants and the inhabitants. Agriculture is a way of connecting!

Thank you, Susan, for being a leader, a legend and for giving back so much of your time and resources to developing the community!

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Women in Ag Spotlight - Holly Smith

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Growing up in the Mojave desert, Holly’s interest in agriculture began early. As a member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Holly grew up dreaming of “a big world out there of all the possibilities that farming seemed to encompass!” Driven by the skills, independence, prosperity and the people involved, she has worked her way to Vineyard Manager at Gallo Vineyards. Holly has been with Gallo for 8 years and prior to joining Gallo, she taught Agricultural topics at high schools in both Paso Robles and Carpinteria, California.

When asked about her role models, Holly shared her belief that the wine grape-growing side of the industry is particularly inspiring. “The wine--growing side of the industry, as a whole, are pretty amazing people, willing to share wins, losses, friendship and a glass of bubbles. I love learning aside the others in the industry and appreciating the fruits of our labor, complaining about no water, frost, or other common troubles.”

Holly firmly believes that anyone—female or male—who can stand on their own two feet, and has the skills that suit the job, can succeed. “The proof is in the pudding if you can get the job done just as good as the next ‘guy’.  Sometimes it takes a little more convincing, and as in any business, it is who you know as much as it is what you know, and often women forget that. Relationship building is vital. I have recently started a ‘Grower Gal’ networking activity lunch that has been a hit, though, inviting other women in the growing side to network, learn, and have a good time because wine makers shouldn’t have all the fun!”

Holly is heavily involved in her community, working with the California Women in Agriculture organization and she is an Ag Advisory member for Paso Robles FFA, Shandon FFA, and Cuesta College. Holly’s dedication to giving back to the community, despite her busy work life, is something more people should try to emulate!

Outside of Gallo Vineyards and community work, Holly loves deep-sea fishing in warm climates, visiting the beach (or any kind of water), and diving headfirst into real estate investment out of state. Her favorite deep-sea fishing spots are Baja, Florida, and Costa Rica—all great places for sushi fishing!

Holly’s advice to other females currently in agriculture or interested in agriculture is simple: “Network, work hard, dream big, and don’t make excuses.” She has certainly lived by that philosophy and is a great role model for anyone in the community. Thank you for everything you do Holly!

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Women in Ag Spotlight - Sue Chen

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Sue Chen is an amazing woman to feature during Women in Ag week! Sue started her own farm in February 2016 in Yamhill, OR. Her farm name is Cow Pig Dragon and is nestled in the beautiful hills of Yamhill, right in the heart of Willamette Valley. Her all-organic hazelnut brand is called Love Hazelnuts, with acreage of just over 22 acres. 

Sue’s agricultural experience is interesting because she had no Ag experience when she started her farm! Her “day” job is actually as the CEO of NOVA medical products, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, where she founded the company to offer stylish designs and choices to people using mobility equipment. Cow Pig Dragon was her first real Ag experience so she jumped right in and planted a Hazelnut orchard!

We asked Sue how she became interested in Ag, especially as a CEO in a big city! She recalls special memories growing up as a little girl on her dad’s farm. He raised cows, chickens and other animals, as well as grew all types of vegetables in Florida. Since then, it’s always been a dream of hers and she decided to just go for it!

Sue has had a couple of major contributors to the success of her orchard, including Paul Ridgway of OVS/Cascade Water Systems—offering advice on landscape, vision and providing support through irrigation work. Mark Schrepel of Century Farms, just up the street, has also been a staple in Sue’s farming adventure. Mark heard about Sue starting her farm and has been so helpful and willing to offer advice along the way. Mark comes from a long history of family farming! She is grateful to everyone who has helped her along the way.

We asked Sue if she has encountered any setbacks or roadblocks as a female in the Ag industry. She said, “It seems people have actually been pleasantly surprised by the work I can do by myself.” She said she feels that everyone has been very supportive and she also mentioned how fulfilling farming is and how it gives back, like keeping her happy and healthy, while giving her a great workout!

Sue continues learning every day. It’s an endless journey of learning! She’s learning about the many varietals of planting, while better understanding the relationship with the soil and soil regeneration. Soil impacts everything that’s growing, including other animals/creatures (bees and birds) and as Sue descirbes, is one of the most important factors in growing. 

In her spare time, Sue is a member of the Yamhill Enrichment Society in Yamhill County and enjoys gardening and diving!

Sue’s advice for other females in Ag: “Mother Earth needs more ladies! We need more mothers of the earth to care and steward the land and grow food. It’s something that’s very inherent in women and we’re just good at it! It’s good for us too. It’s the perfect reciprocal activity. You get so much back!”

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