Winter pruning has now taken precedence in the orchard. The apple trees are now fully acclimated to tolerate cold temperatures as they have been exposed to freezing temperatures for several weeks. We perform most of our maintenance pruning while the trees are dormant. Dormant pruning allows for better visibility of the branches and increases the speed of the work. Recently pruned trees can be damaged when there is a sudden drop in temperatures, say 40 to 50 degrees, to 0 degrees or below. We feel it is better for our trees if we wait to prune until temperatures stay at a more constant temperature for extended periods.
Winter is also an opportunity for us to attend trade shows and horticultural conferences. While we were unable to attend the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we did attend the Indiana Horticultural Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, this past week. These conferences are opportunities for professional development. These trade shows are a combination of horticultural education, networking, new technology and always food samplings. Demonstrations of the doughnut making machines are always popular with long lines of interested attendees waiting for samples. In Indianapolis, Purdue University sponsored the three day event and was responsible for providing the training seminars and conferences. Usually, a vendor trade show is a major part of the overall exposition. Besides technical training, product marketing has become an integral part of the sessions at these conferences.
Lee Dean, Editorial Director of “Fruit Grower News,” made an appropriate summation about the recent Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. “The show…is a celebration of a calling.” According to Dean, “a calling is different from a job; a calling is, according to writer Frederick Buechner, where what you love to do is something the world needs”. We feel that this describes what we do. We feel it is our “calling” to try to provide our customers with tasty and nutritious fruit for themselves and their families.