The 2023 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO will be held Dec. 5–7 at the DeVos Place and Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Annually, the EXPO averages 3,000 to 4,000 attendees who come for the trade show and educational sessions covering fruits, vegetables, farm marketing and greenhouse crops. This year’s general farming sessions include speakers with a variety of topics, including labor, information for beginning farmers and organic practices. New for the 2023 EXPO will be an expanded Innovation Experience focused on labor-saving technologies. A trade show aisle will be dedicated to innovation and agricultural technology.
The fruit educational sessions will begin the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 5. A grape session will cover insect pest protection, disease management strategies and integrating biochar into vineyard practices. At the sweet cider session, presenters will discuss food safety principles and juice processing technology, as well as the use of red-fleshed and antique apples in sweet cider.
On Tuesday afternoon, an apple session will cover root fundamentals for water and nutrient uptake and tools for irrigation scheduling. Meanwhile, during the grape session, speakers will address canopy architecture in Merlot vines, a clean plant program for grapevine seedlings and frost protection strategies.
The morning of Wednesday, Dec. 6, a blueberry session will cover biological pest control with parasitoids and nematodes, insect pest management in the Southeast, berries in high tunnels and will also give an update on Michigan State University’s Enviroweather project. Highlights of the cherry session include biological spotted wing drosophila controls, the effects of netting on bird damage, tart cherry economics and high-density sweet cherries. And in the peach/plum session: alternatives to chlorpyrifos for stone fruit pest control and fungicides for managing brown rot and other diseases.
A Wednesday afternoon apple session will cover the effect of weather patterns on disease management, apple pest management and fungicide rainfastness. A blueberry session will address organic nitrogen sources, harvest management, pollination and irrigation.
The morning of Thursday, Dec. 7, a sustainable fruit production session will cover root/microbe interactions in grape, biocontrol fundamentals and decision-making models. A hard cider session will include microbiological, sanitation and processing recommendations to improve quality, balancing distribution and on-premise sales and updates from the Michigan Cider Association.
Special events include the Michigan Apple Cider Contest and an industry banquet held the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 6. The Michigan State Horticultural Society hands out two distinguished service awards during the banquet. For more information, visit: glexpo.com.
—by Matt Milkovich