Manchester, New Hampshire, December 15-17

Modeled after the original New England Greenhouse Conference during the late ’70s, the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference is held in odd-numbered years. This year’s event at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire, will host more than 100 exhibitors and is expected to draw thousands in attendance.

Sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association and Cooperative Extension System, the conference will plan a flurry of educational sessions covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops.

The Tuesday morning sessions will address topics such as blueberries, tree fruit, food safety, specialty and ethnic crops, and small acreage ideas. Later in the afternoon, the sessions will also highlight winter growing, brambles, and harvest/handling/storage.

Wednesday will focus on farm trails, stone fruit, weed control and strawberries in the morning, while the afternoon will cover vine crops, soil health, hard cider and scaling decisions. Thursday’s sessions will highlight greenhouse practices, viticulture and organic production.

Also, the conference will have daily “Farmer-to-Farmer” meetings that will consist of regional farmers and growers discussing best practices and brainstorming ideas via roundtable discussions. Topics will include “Diseases Around the Farm and Control Options,” “Tips and Tricks for Small Scale Farming Profits,” and “Beginning Farmers: Startup Decisions.”

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After-show events programs will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday during the conference with light hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages on Tuesday and a social mixer and awards ceremony with cash bar and light horsd’oeuvres on Wednesday. The awards program for the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association will honor contributors for local agriculture.