December 13-15, Manchester, N.H.

It only happens once every two years: the biggest and best educational event for commercial growers of fruits and vegetables in New England: the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show, December 13 through 15 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H.

Educational sessions

This year’s conference features more than 25 educational sessions over three days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crop topics, as well as special sessions on topics like soil health and estate planning. Each morning and afternoon there are five concurrent sessions, so there is a lot to choose from. A session typically includes five separate half-hour presentations by a combination of farmers, educators, researchers and industry personnel.

Farmer-to-Farmer meetings

These gatherings take place twice a day; after the morning and afternoon sessions. These popular gatherings bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussions that allow conference growers to learn from each other. Topics this year include: successful winter growing, cultivation equipment, postharvest handling and storage, organic disease control, tips and tricks for a successful CSA, insect control and new farm start-ups.

Trade show

Also popular at the conference is the extensive trade show with over 100 commercial exhibitors, as well as many nonprofit organizations. The trade show is a place to check out the latest in supplies and equipment, to learn about the details of products from the people that sell them, and to provide feedback to vendors about their offerings. You must register for the conference in order to attend the trade show.

Registration

The preregistration fee to attend any part, or all, of the conference or trade show is $95 for the first member of the farm or business and $65 for each additional member (family or employee) when preregistered with first member. The preregistration fee for students (high school or college) is $45 each when preregistered by the instructor. There is an additional fee of $30 ($20 for students) per person for late registration or walk-ins. Credit cards will be accepted at the door. There is an ATM machine available in the hotel. New this year is online registration at www.newenglandvfc.org. You can register individuals as well as groups of people.