Holiday celebrations are now history, decorations stored away and we are on to another year. Enough “down” time and starting to think about how to make 2017 a better year. We have attended several trade shows and horticultural seminars in the past several months. The Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Growers Exposition in Grand Rapids, Michigan is always an interesting display of new technology. This is not only a trade show but an educational meeting as well. Growers brainstorm and explore what is new in the marketplace for orchard improvement and product marketing. We find that as growers, we can usually get some good information and valuable advice on the problems we experienced during the harvest season. Trade shows are great arenas for problem solving. Our land grant university in Indiana, Purdue, has a annual horticultural congress in Indianapolis and we participated in these presentations this past Tuesday. Food safety was the main focus of several sessions that we attended. Consumers want not only fresh food but they expect “safe” food products as well. As growers we strive to meet these consumers’ expectations. One way is to be aware of the dangers that unsafe growing and processing practices present. Food Safety training sessions are fundamental steps in making food safer for all of us.
After attending the winter seminars, pruning the orchard takes precedence over the other work such as crate repair, equipment maintenance and ladder building. Rather than contracting pruning crews, we still prune our own orchard. Pruning is a monumental task but a necessary one for fruit development. We think of pruning as a necessary “haircut.” At some point, if my “smart” phone cooperates, there may be some pictures demonstrating the steps we take to prune our trees. No promises, here, as my phone at times seems to be “smarter” than me! More next time.