Kathryn Klein: Leader, Mentor, Mother
Lessons learned and what’s ahead
Kathryn (Katy) Klein, co-owner of Hood River Cherry Company, knows what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world. She’s been in the agricultural industry for over thirty years and has been the only woman in the room more times than she can count.
As more women join the industry she sees their presence making a positive impact—and an opportunity to support them, “Those of us who’ve been in the business for a while have a chance to mentor and support young women just joining,” Katy says.
Some see being a small, woman-lead, family-owned orchard as a challenge, Katy sees it as an advantage, “It’s incredibly rewarding working side-by-side with my family every day. Tackling projects with my daughter, watching my granddaughter grow day by day as she runs in and out of the office and spending quality time with my husband doing the thing we love most: growing exceptional cherries. I love it.”
Because HRCC is a family-owned orchard, they get to know and invest in their employees’ lives, “Many of our workers have been with us for decades and have harvested with us year after year. After that long, they feel like family to us. We are so grateful to be able to watch their children grow up and share in special events like family birthday parties and graduations with them.”
Katy and Brad planted their first cherry tree in 1993, the same day their youngest son was born. Since then, they’ve grown to 375 acres of sweet cherries—adding another 100 high-elevation acres just this year, “I love what we do and the happiness we bring to people’s lives through our delicious cherries—we’re so excited to be planting even more!”