Raintree Ambassador Opportunity

You mean like we all do here? I’m sure a bunch of people here are fielding more than five answers a week with no “thank you” gift certificate to show for it.

Yes, the company gains something from it but it would still be work to promote fruit growing and gardening in general. I would put it above the self engrandizing "Master Gardener"™ program.

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I always have to spend some time double checking and rewording emails to make sure I come across as I intend. It’s pretty easy to sound dismissive, cold, etc. when sending quick emails even if it’s not the intent. Communication is always easier face to face.

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Such a disappointment that they used the word “master” in the title as it is so misleading. People don’t seem to realize that years of study and experience always trump the “master gardener” title.

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Amen on that one!

I need to get that certification just to say I have it. I can promise that the things I have learned from this forum will always and forever be more useful than anything I could learn from a master gardener course. That said, it’s basically the standard by which the layman views as a competent plant grower.

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I’ve been growing and discussing growing plants for decades. My wife said I should go for it, but once I considered the time/effort involved it didn’t seem worthwhile.

That and I’m also a fruit tree grower who rarely gets many pears, though my trees are over 15 years old and my 10 year old plum has only given me a handful for some dumb reason.

Scott

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Go for it if you want. Master gardeners have to do a certain amount of volunteer work each year or they lose their certification. I once attended a garden talk given by one such M. G. (as part of their required volunteer work) and was most unimpressed to discover that they didn’t do any of their own pruning on their fruit trees and even paid someone else to prune their blueberries! I can understand if some people can’t do the tall stuff, but blueberry bushes?!

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I’m more thinking it’s the standard by which they congratulate each other and in the presence of others.

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250 dollars is the same as 250 pennies to them. That’s cheap!

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$800 dollars is right in the middle of being a correct sweet spot to do this for someone.

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If you’re some high-end big-city garden center, it might impress some lil ole lady
driving the Lincoln or Lexus
to call for the “master gardener” on staff…to answer her questions
(while the owner or manager that probably knows all the answers goes on about running the business).

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I still remember (20 years ago) while growing red currants for the first time, waiting in line to ask a pair of “master gardeners” what to do about “imported currant worms” that had defoliated my currants.

I was asked “why did you import them if you were trying to grow currants?” They also didn’t know what kind of fruit currants were…

Funny thing is I didn’t do anything and haven’t really had a problem with them since… (the worms, not the master gardeners)

Scott

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As someone who completed the program, I can emphatically state that most MG I have met are very much hands on and likewise don’t wear the title on their sleeve.

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I seriously thought about this for about an hour and even started filling out the application. I love to help people. I decided against it because I figured the questions would not interest me.

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Hello good people of Growing Fruit! I’m James, and my wife Rye and I own Raintree Nursery.

I thought I would chime in and introduce myself, and answer some of your questions. Feel free to ask me more, and I’ll reply to them as I have time.

I thought I would clarify, my wife and I bought Raintree almost 5 years ago from the original owner, Sam. We are not some big corporation. I was in construction prior to this and Rye owned a pie business. We put our life savings into buying Raintree, because we lived in WA we couldn’t stand to watch them close. We took out an SBA loan to purchase it, which means that Raintree has a mortgage for the first time.

I see people are wondering why our prices have increased over the last few years. It is due to several different reasons. One of them is shipping costs. It has become about 2x more expensive to ship the same size plants, and rather than charging more for shipping, we include some of it in the price of larger items as we fear people would not actually buy the trees if they got charged with shipping that is sometimes more expensive than the tree itself.

And lastly, we decided when we took over Raintree that every employee should be paid a livable wage. We have increased employee wages by about 30% over the last few years, and always give raises that match inflation. We also were able to get them health insurance, and a 401k retirement savings plan, which is not at all common in our industry. We believe that business owners in the US have a duty to their employees to do this. Raintree actually doesn’t make any more money than it did before we assumed ownership because we have been reinvesting it into our team, our buildings, our propagation program, and sourcing more quality plants. We do not like to raise prices either but inflation on all things, from fertilizer, soil, pots, boxes, tools, fuel, and more has to be accommodated to stay in business.

Rye and I are committed to continuing Raintree’s legacy of offering interesting fruit cultivars to growers all over the US, and this is easier said than done. We have been so proud to watch our generation take up the reins the last few years and engage more with the growing-side of life.

I love talking about Raintree, and the industry in general. So please, if you have more questions for us, reply on this thread and we can try and answer them for you.

Thanks everyone!
James & Rye

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Thanks James. It’s nice to hear from you about what’s going on over there. It sounds like your heart is in the right place.

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Hi Don, if you are interested in applying, please submit your application at: https://help.raintreenursery.com/hc/en-us/requests/new under “Become A Raintree Plant Ambassador”.

As for the $250 credit, we are definitely willing to increase the credit amount to fit people’s specific growing goals. For instance if someone wanted to experiment with a plant type that they think will grow where they are, but don’t want to risk purchasing the plant and it failing, we could increase the credit amount. We would love to have an ambassador in Alaksa!

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Great introduction. It’s heartening to hear what you are trying to do at Raintree, and certainly would make me feel a little better about the prices. I had no idea.

In quickly browsing the website, I had to dig to find the “about us” link. Seems like it would be worthwhile to share some of what you’ve shared here about the commitment to the workers.

I’m happy to see you in the forum, and appreciate the handle - putting your cards on the table.

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I’ve ordered from you and I’ve ordered from the previous owner.

But, to say it in few words, it’s like grocery shopping, I avoid the Krogers and opt for Save-a-Lot and the dollar stores for my staples. Only visiting the more expensive Kroger, Publix, etc., on rare occasions for items they carry that smaller merchants don’t.

I shop for price…that’s the price per unit, including tax and shipping. For commodity items, the cheapest gets my business in most instances. Or the local guy does,
However, once in awhile I shop at more expensive places for a better item or for a item other folks don’t have. The latter typically has been my motivation to shop Raintree.
For, I can buy cheaper elsewhere.

Thanks for the courteous reply.

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I’ve been buying fruit trees from Raintree since 2015, so only after the new owner, but only lately has prices been going up significantly. So I won’t be buying again either.

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