February 1-3, Hershey, Pa.

The 2011 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held February 1-3 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, Pa. In addition, three preconvention workshops are scheduled for January 31. About 1,900 fruit, vegetable and berry growers and other industry professionals from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond are expected to attend. Joseph Schwarcz, Ph.D., from McGill University, will be giving the keynote presentation titled “Eating – Is There a Solution to the Confusion” on the opening day.

Schwarcz is director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, a unique enterprise with a mandate of demystifying science for the public, the media and students. Schwarcz also teaches a variety of courses in McGill’s chemistry department and in the faculty of medicine with emphasis on health issues, including aspects of alternative medicine. He is well-known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. Using stage magic to make scientific points is one of his specialties.

The day before the main convention opens, three special workshops will offer growers in-depth presentations:

• Diagnosing Vegetable Problems will give growers insight in dealing with disease, insect, weed, weather and other potential problem areas in vegetable production.

• Farm Transition – Bringing in the Next Generation will feature estate planning attorney Mark L. James and Penn State extension farm succession specialists and is designed for everyone involved in a family farm transition process.

• Bee-ing Sustainable will enable growers to enhance the pollination of their crops by encouraging native pollinator populations on their farms.

Another special session will be “Técnicas de Producción de Frutas y Hortalizas.” This half-day session on February 2 is designed especially for Spanish-speaking workers in the fruit and vegetable industries. It will feature various relevant fruit and vegetable production presentations in Spanish.

The Mid-Atlantic Convention has been jointly sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society for the past 33 years. The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland and Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, plus the National Peach Council, all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions. The convention has become one of the premier grower meetings in the Northeast.

The Great American Hall at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center will host the trade show, with over 150 exhibitors expected. Specialized horticultural equipment, farm market merchandise and packaging will all be on display, along with information on the latest seed varieties, fruit varieties, pesticides and other supplies and services for the commercial grower.

Many pesticide applicator update training credits are available to Pennsylvania growers attending the sessions. The program covers nearly every aspect of fruit, vegetable, potato and berry production.

Six or more concurrent educational sessions will be offered on all three days of the convention. Besides the plenary session for the keynote address, the opening day will feature sessions on tree fruit, sweet corn, direct and wholesale marketing, high tunnels, organic vegetables, pesticide safety, onions, snap beans, general vegetables, cole crops and labor.

On the second day, sessions on roadside marketing, postharvest handling, greenhouse production, tomatoes, tree fruit, peaches, small fruit, potatoes and wine grapes, plus workshops on cut flower design and business management software will be featured.

The convention will close on the third day with sessions on: peaches, tree fruit, small fruit, vine crops, pumpkins, agritainment, web-based marketing, cut flowers, leafy greens, equipment for reduced tillage and herbs.

The fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest will be conducted during the convention to determine the best-tasting cider produced in the region.

On February 1, fruit and vegetable growers will be treated to a reception followed by the annual Fruit and Vegetable Growers Dinner, which will include awards and recognitions. On February 2 there will be an Ice Cream Social in the evening.

Registration is required for all persons attending the convention trade show or educational sessions. Registration with any of the four sponsoring organizations allows one to attend any of the sessions ,although there are additional charges for the preconvention workshops and meals. For further information, go to www.mafvc.org or call 717-677-4184 or 717-694-3596.

Visit these folks at the show!

Arctic Refrigeration of Batavia, Inc.

CSI – Nutri-Cal

Cooper’s Mill

Dillman Farm, Inc.

Doyle’s Thornless Blackberry, Inc.

Gardner Pie Co.

Harris Moran Seed Company

Haygrove, Inc.

Hillside Cultivator Co. LLC

Hillside Orchard Farms

Jersey Asparagus Farms, Inc.

J.S. Woodhouse Co., Inc.

Koppert Biological Systems, Inc.

Martins Produce Supplies/Jain Irrigation

Natural Industries

NE Seed

OESCO, Inc.

Penns Creek Mfg.

Perdue AgriRecycle

Phil Brown Welding Corp.

ProducePackaging.com

Putnam Plastics

Rupp Seeds, Inc.

Stark Bros. Orchards and Nurseries

Superb Horticulture/AgTec

Syngenta

Tew Mfg. Corp.

TRICKL-EEZ Co./Zimmerman Irrigation