The New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference and Trade Show offered workshops led by experienced growers, advisors, researchers and industry representatives from across the country. Speakers shared the latest innovations and advances in the fruit and vegetable industry. This biennial conference was held December 17 – 19, 2013 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH.
Over 30 educational workshops covered major vegetable and tree fruit crops. Workshop topics included strawberries, blueberries, viticulture, brambles, cucurbits, brassicas, root crops and cut flowers. Growing topics included greenhouse-growing, organics, storage techniques and soil fertility. Business topics included farm decision-making; value added production, direct marketing and CSAs. A special evening session focused on challenges posed by the Spotted Wing Drosophila.
Networking and Sharing
Evening networking receptions highlighted the Trade Show. Farmer-to-Farmer Meetings were informal, in-depth discussions bringing speakers and farmers together on these topics.
- Tractor Cultivation for Weed Control
- Organic Fruit from A to Z
- The Value of Quality Seeds: GMO Update, Seed Quality, and demo of Hot Water Seed Treatment
- Winter Growing/Season Extension
- New and Old Insects and options for Organic Controls
- Washing Station Tips and Tricks: Setups for Efficiency
- Organic Disease Control: What’s New & Works-From Greenhouse to Fields
- Irrigation for Quality Crops: Drip, Overhead, Filtration, Fertilization
The New England Fruit Growers Association and Massachusetts Fruit Growers' Association held their Annual Meetings during the conference.
Many workshops offered Continuing Education Credits for Pesticide Applicators and Certified Crop Advisors.
Over 150 exhibitors participated in the 3-day Trade Show including suppliers of
- Seeds, seedlings and plants
- Fertilizer and soil amendments
- Growing, irrigation and processing equipment
- Packaging suppliers
- Greenhouses and high tunnels
- Agricultural advisors
- Farm financing and grants
- Crop and farmer insurance companies
- Trade publications
Conference Center chefs offered locally sourced lunch daily. Local farmers provided produce and cheeses ingredients for the networking receptions' hors d'oeuvres.
This conference has been held in odd years since its first convention in December 1979. Attendance has grown from around 1,000 in the early years to nearly 2,000 in 2013. Attendees gather from well beyond the northeast region.
The New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference is held in alternating years at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Manchester, NH. The event is sponsored by the Cooperative Extension System: including the Universities of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine; Cornell University; Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association and the Massachusetts Fruit Grower's Association. Learn more at www.newenglandvfc.org.
A similar story ran in the Bruary, 2014 Eastern edition of Country Folks Grower.