It only happens once every two years: the biggest and best educational event for commercial growers of fruits and vegetables in New England. Over a thousand farmers attend, and the biggest complaint they have is: "There were so many good sessions I couldn't get to them all." So don't delay, register now for the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show, December 13 through 15 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H. While you're at it, take advantage of the reduced rate for registering other family members and employees from your farm, so you can divide and conquer the many different topics that will be covered.
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.
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, post-harvest handling and storage, organic disease control, tips and tricks for a successful CSA, insect control and new farm start-ups.
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.
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.
Conference attendees are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements. A limited number of rooms are reserved at a special rate for conference attendees at the Radisson. Call 603-625-1000 or go to www.radisson.com/manchesternh. The hotel rate for conference attendees is $106 plus tax. To book a room, call 603-206-4109 and indicate that you are attending the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference. When booking online, use the reference code: VANDB1. Other hotels in the area include: The Courtyard by Marriott, 603-641-4900 or www.marriott.com/mhtcy; Homewood Suites by Hilton, 603-668-2200 or www.manchesterairport.homewoodsuites.com; Four Points Sheraton, 603-668-6110; Holiday Inn Express, 603-669-6880; Best Western, 603-627-2525; Super 8, 800-800-8000; Comfort Inn, 603-668-2600; and EconoLodge, 603-624-0111.
The author is vegetable and berry specialist with University of Vermont Extension based at the Brattleboro office.
Visit these folks at the trade show!
Monosem, Inc.The MS Vegetable Planter handles a wide variety of vegetable seeds. Seed discs are available for both raw and pelleted seeds for planting in single or twin line. Five versions available.
North Country OrganicsNorth Country Organics manufactures and distributes natural fertilizers, soil amendments and environmentally compatible pest controls.
Wellscroft Fence SystemsBekaert's new Fixed Knot Exclusion Fence is 90 inches tall and features a solid vertical stay wire, fixed knot design, Class 3 galvanized materials.