Jan 3, 2023
Longtime organic apple salesman dies at age 49
Matt Miles, a longtime organic salesman in the Washington apple industry, died Dec. 7. He was 49.
Miles, a 27-year veteran of the apple industry, worked with companies including FirstFruits Marketing and L&M Northwest after graduating from Washington State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. His career began with C.H. Robinson.
Colleagues remembered Miles’ early understanding of the organic industry’s role as well as the analytical skills that led to his development of predictive data models for retailers and growers and his anticipated yearly “state of the organic apple” presentation.
“When Matt came to L&M Northwest in 2005, we had a one-grower organic program,” Andy Tudor, then-director at L&M, said in a news release. “Within three years, Matt had tripled the size of our program and increased grower returns thanks to his meticulous planning and industry understanding that had allowed him to map industry growth and plan for utilization.”
Lon Hudson, formerly of Peterson Fruit and current sales manager at FirstFruits Marketing, began working with Miles in the 1990s at Peterson Fruit, where Miles built a new program of certified organic growers.
“Although Matt was a salesman, he put growers first and their loyalty to him showed as those growers followed him to every organization,” Hudson said. “He worked at helping both the growers and his organization win in the organic space.”
Miles is survived by his wife, Kristi; daughters Ashley and Sydney; his parents and one brother.