The 2019 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO will be held Dec. 10–12 in the DeVos Place Convention Center and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The EXPO, which caters to fruit, vegetable and greenhouse growers and farm marketers, features more than 70 educational sessions and workshops and a trade show with more than 450 exhibitors. More than 4,000 people attended the EXPO in 2018.
The educational sessions are divided into several broad themes, including farm marketing, fruit production, vegetable production, greenhouse production and organic production. General interest sessions will cover bilingual safety training, certifications, food safety, labor and federal and state grants. A special session, “Securing Your Legacy,” will cover hiring, efficient business practices, estate planning and farm stress.
Fruit educational sessions will be held throughout the three-day event. Speakers from Michigan State University and other institutions will cover dozens of topics relevant to growing fruit commercially:
—Grape session topics include sampling strategies for virus detection, spotted lanternfly management, mapping vinifera suitability across Michigan, fungicide resistance management and cordon renewal strategies
—General tree fruit topics include permitting requirements for managing wildlife in orchards; cold hardiness and winter injury; and an entire session devoted to cherry, stone fruit, apple and pear rootstocks.
—Apple sessions will cover managing bitter pit in Honeycrisp, postharvest challenges in Honeycrisp and Gala, pest management, fruit rot, fire blight, nutrient uptake and thinning.
—A peach and plum session will cover peach brown rot management, new peach varieties, postharvest best practices and peach hardiness.
—A tart cherry session will cover the impact of cover crops, ethephon for fruit removal, disease impacts and management tactics for spotted wing drosophila (SWD).
—A sweet cherry session will cover SWD management, mating disruption for San Jose scale, sap beetle management and disease challenges.
—Blueberry topics include bees and pollination, fungicide resistance, gall wasp and SWD management, machine harvesting for the fresh market and weed control.
—A sweet cider session will cover special varieties for sweet cider, new and emerging pathogens and some Michigan industry updates.
—A hard cider session will cover a red-flesh breeding program, along with growing and marketing cider varieties profitably.
The Michigan Apple Growers Luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Dec. 10. Open to all Michigan apple growers, it will feature industry updates and the crowning of the 2019 Michigan Apple Queen.
A prayer breakfast is scheduled for 7 a.m., Dec. 11. Larry Bodtke, a blueberry grower and longtime member of Michigan’s fruit industry, will be the featured speaker.
The EXPO Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 11. Awards will be given for outstanding service to the fruit and vegetable industries, and scholarships will be handed out. Cider contest winners also will be announced.
The Michigan State Horticultural Society’s annual meeting and a trade show reception will be held the afternoon of Dec. 10.
Two bus tours will be held Dec. 9, the day before the EXPO officially begins. One tour will visit farm markets, the other will visit holiday-themed garden centers. A greenhouse bus tour will be held Dec. 12. Visit glexpo.com for more details. •
Visit glexpo.com for more details. •
—by Matt Milkovich