Gene Bliesner -
Granny Smith, Gala
Meet Gene Bliesner. Gene’s grandparents emigrated from Germany to Fairfield, WA to become wheat farmers. Gene grew up working on the family farm before graduating from Washington State University where he earned a degree in animal science. After graduating, Gene turned away from farming, working instead in the banking and agricultural loan industry for 20 years.
In 1980, looking for a life change, Gene and his wife Mary Ann bought Valley Processing in Sunnyside which processes concord grape, apple, cranberry, and other berry juices to be wholesaled to bottlers. Gene knew he wanted to get back into farming. By 1981, Gene had purchased 12 acres of concord grape vineyards. He slowly expanded from there, planting his first apples in 1993. Today, his wife runs the processing plant with their youngest son Terry and Gene tends to their 120 acres of farmland, 80 of which are concord grapes and 40 are Gala and Granny Smith apples.
In the early 1990’s, Gene and Mary Ann built the Snipes Mountain Brewery and Restaurant in downtown Sunnyside – another venture that keeps them very busy. Gene and Mary Ann have three sons, Brian, Craig and Terry, and 6 grandchildren.