Snow on Pink Lady. Photo: Tara Baugher, Penn State
The 2018 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held January 30 to February 1, 2018, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Over 2,400 fruit, vegetable, and berry growers and other industry persons from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond are expected to attend. This year’s convention will again feature several pre-convention workshops, a farm market bus tour, and a trade show with over 170 exhibitors plus three full days of seven or more concurrent educational sessions. This year’s keynote speaker is Charlie Arnot, a recognized thought leader in food and agriculture and CEO of The Center for Food Integrity.
The day before the main Convention opens, growers can choose between a bus tour of Pennsylvania farm markets or several different workshops. The workshops include FSMA Grower Training, UK Hard Cider Production (off-site), Orchard Trellis Construction (sponsored by the YGA; held at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center, Biglerville, PA), Vegetable Biocontrols, Computer Recordkeeping, Urban Community Farming, Farm Market Business Management, and Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator License Training.
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 40 years making this year’s Convention the 41st meeting. In 2014, the Virginia State Horticultural Society also began meeting at the Convention. The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, Rutgers University Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech University all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions.
Seven or eight concurrent educational sessions will be offered on all three days of the Convention. Besides a combined session for the keynote address, the opening day will feature breakout sessions on Pome Fruit, Tomatoes, Organic Vegetables, Food Trends, Agritourism, Rhubarb, Kale/Brussels Sprouts, Microgreens, Ethnic/Specialty Vegetables, Root Vegetables, Cut Flowers, Use of Drones, and Farm Management.
On the second day, sessions on Farm Market Development, Educating Consumers and the Media, Wholesale Marketing, Small Fruit, Pome Fruit, Stone Fruit, Pumpkins/Vine Crops, Greenhouse Ornamentals, Wine Grapes, Soil Health/Reduced Tillage, Cover Crops, and General Vegetables will be offered. A special feature in the afternoon will be an Apple Variety Showcase where nurseries will have their best varieties on display and available for tasting. Also offered will be the session “Técnicas de Producción de Frutas y Hortalizas” especially for Spanish speaking workers in the fruit and vegetable industries. It will feature various relevant production presentations in Spanish.
The Convention will close on the third day with sessions on: Tree Fruit, Small Fruit, High Tunnels, Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Farm Labor, Alternative Activities for On-Farm Marketing, Marketing on Social Media, General Vegetables, Asparagus, and Third-Party GAP Audits.
Registration is required for all persons attending the Convention trade show or educational sessions. Registration with any of the five sponsoring organizations allows one to attend any of the sessions although there are additional charges for some workshops and meals. For further information, go to www.mafvc.org or call 717-677-4184 or 717-694-3596.