Ignowski fans 10 batters in Schillings shutout victory

Published 4:39 pm Friday, June 11, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
EAU CLAIRE -- Herb Teichman taught Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm finer points of cherry pit spitting in the mist Thursday afternoon, such as, "Curl your tongue up like a rifle barrel."
Granholm cut a ribbon dedicating the new and improved extended court made necessary by Brian "Young Gun" Krause reaching a world-record 110 feet, 4 inches, in the freestyle last summer.
Granholm, headed for Benton Harbor afterward, almost swallowed her pit trying not to crack up at the mock seriousness attached to a silly event that nevertheless attracts international attention to Eau Claire.
Krause won his fourth International Cherry Pit Spit belt at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm while setting a new record, 93 feet, 6 1/2 inches on his final fling at the 30th annual competition July 5, 2003.
The 31st contest takes place July 3.
The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes two world records -- Krause's previous longest distance under international competition rules of 72 feet, 11 inches, in 1998, and a freestyle record of about 95 feet set in Germany in 1994.
Krause's world-record spit of 110 feet, 4 inches, was witnessed and certified by three official tournament judges: U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, state Rep. Charles LaSata, the former St. Joseph mayor, and Berrien County Circuit Judge John Hammond.
Teichman got no argument from the tireless tourism promoter.
She threw Bailey's arms up like a prizefighter after a knockout punch.
The men's pits skimmed the puddles pooling on the new blacktop like stones skipped across a lake. Bailey's must have traveled 50 feet.
State Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, and Cass County Commissioner Johnie Rodebush, D-Niles, were also in attendance.
Teichman's parents established the farm in 1927. "My father and mother met over Jonathan apples in Fort Wayne, Ind. They planted the first orchard in 1930."
Teichman times apple varieties ripen as peaches are picked. There's a picnic ground with a petting zoo, whose goat is peering into the bus from the roof of its shelter.
He pointed out a tart cherry orchard pruned to allow for machine picking. "Ninetysome percent of the tart cherries in the state are picked by machine. We were the first to pick commercially red tart cherries with a machine in 1962," Teichman said. "We started picking apples with machines also, but it didn't work out. It wasn't feasible. There's no spot at this northern latitude where they can grow as many different fruits commercially as we can here along the shore of Lake Michigan. There are no trees in the valley because as the cold air settles in, the warm air remains on top of the hill" where orchards grow. "Sweet cherries bloom real early, so we plant them on the higher elevation, where the last of the frost will settle."
There's a chapel which accommodates wedding parties as large as 150 people.
Others come by bus besides the governor.
The tree on which he demonstrates grafting on more leisurely tours produces 16 varieties. Apples on it ripen from July to November.
Some are more susceptible to diseases such as "fire blight" than others.
In a young cherry orchard, bags hang from the trees, little bars of soap dangling to deter deer from devouring the foliage.
Peach trees are also trimmed so low that no ladders are necessary to pick the fruit.
One of the few buildings blocking the ruggedly beautiful vistas of rolling green hills and cool, inviting forests, is where mechanically-harvested cherries "cool" in a bath of 51-degree well water until they are firm and ready for processing.
To tempt tourists Tree-Mendus offers facilities for company picnics, family reunions and weddings.
To the right of the bouncing bus is an orchard of dwarf Golden Delicious. If this was a roller coaster, this would be the top of the climb where the car hangs momentarily before sailing down the other side.
Not only does Tree-Mendus adopt trees by the year for harvest, but like Michigan's governors before her for more than 30 years, Granholm receives a complimentary tree "so that the governors recognize that we grow apples in Michigan."
Every fall that apple tree is picked and it's fruit is delivered to the Capitol.
Teichman joked that she should delegate picking apples to homegrown state Agriculture Director Dan Wyant, a Cassopolis graduate who grew up in Pokagon Township.
Although steady rain tapered off to a mist by the time Granholm sampled a cherry waffle and some cider and stepped outside to cut a ribbon at the new Pit Spit court and tried the Olympit sport herself, the tour was confined to the motor coach instead of piling into the "Folkswagen."