4 Jun 2010
Beginning as well as advanced tree fruit growers benefit from seeing organic management practices during the growing season. The Organic Tree Fruit Association will sponsor its first field day of the summer on Saturday, June 19th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Earth First Farms, owned and operated by the Rosenfeld family in Berrien Center, MI.
The event will begin with a walking tour of the orchard with practical informaton and ideas for starting out or transitioning to organic orchard management. In the field, Dr. Matthew Grieshop of Michigan State University will provide a hands-on educational presentation on pest identification and discuss strategies for preventing orchard damage. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about cider making from “cider guru” Bob Tritten, MSU Horticultural Extension Specialist for Southeast Michigan. A grower panel with successful growers from around the state will discuss marketing options, share experiences and answer questions. “This is a great opportunity for new growers to learn directly from experienced growers,” says Tom Rosenfeld. Take-home resources on organic orchard production and certificaton will also be available.
Earth First Farms is a certified organic apple orchard and vegetable farm only 100 miles from Chicago. The 65-acre farm, owned by the Rosenfelds since 2005, encompasses more than 4700 fruit-bearing apple trees, a field of strawberries, and a diverse vegetable crop that varies annually. In addition to a tree rental program and an apple CSA, they sell apples, cider, pies and vegetables at several farmers markets and independent retailers in Chicago. Find location at www.earthfirstfarms.com
Dr. Matthew Grieshop leads the Michigan State University Organic Pest Management Laboratory, which conducts research, teaching and extension in a variety of Michigan and Great Lakes agricultural commodities. His work in tree fruit includes development of improved mating disruption, integration of livestock, application of biopesticides as well as quantification of natural biological control on organic farms. You can learn more about the MSU Organic Pest Management Laboratory at www.opm.msu.edu
MSU Horticultural Extension Specialist Bob Tritten has been helping Michigan growers for over 35 years. He is passionate about sustainable fruit and vegetable production, direct marketing, grower education and cider. He helped to establish and expand the Great Lakes Expo with its farm market sessions, sweet cider competition and new hard cider sessions. As a founding member of the Michigan Cider Makers Guild, he coordinated a statewide effort to educate and license cider makers in advanced techniques. He has organized workshops for cider enthusiasts on the latest equipment, processes and techniques for making the best cider.
Plan on coming to this event and spend some time with fellow organic enthusiasts: learn and share.
The field day is open to the public and includes a catered lunch. Registration deadline is June 12th and the cost is $25 (OTFA members receive a $10 discount for this and all other OTFA-sponsored events). To register and to get directions, call or email Bridget O’Meara at 715-808-0060 or OTFAinfo@gmail.com.
The Organic Tree Fruit Association is a professional association dedicated to serving the interests of organic tree fruit growers and advancing the organic tree fruit industry through education, research and advocacy.
OTFA is online at www.mosesorganic.org/treefruit/intro.htm