In response to the coronavirus pandemic, more winter fruit and vegetable conferences are moving to virtual formats in February: the New York Tree Fruit Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) tree fruit specialists decided to take a different approach this year by hosting a virtual conference with a statewide focus. The New York Tree Fruit Conference will be held Feb. 2–4.
Sponsored jointly by CCE’s Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program and Lake Ontario Fruit Program, the special conference will combine the tree fruit educational sessions typically held at three different winter conferences: the Winter Fruit Schools in Western New York, the Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Eastern New York and the Empire State Producers Expo in Syracuse.
In normal years, there’s a “strong regionality” to CCE’s tree fruit programming, reflecting the real differences between New York’s diverse growing regions. But those regions have more in common than not, so a virtual statewide conference presented a unique opportunity for the CCE fruit teams to work together, said Dan Donahue, a Cornell tree fruit specialist based in the Hudson Valley.
Organizers plan four sessions per day over the conference’s three days, with two sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon. Planned topics include: insect, disease and weed management, fruit quality and postharvest handling, labor, markets, horticulture, precision thinning, bloom thinning and the pollen tube growth model, climate adaptability, agritourism, hard cider and new varieties. A Honeycrisp management session will be longer and more intensive than the others, Donahue said.
There will be a single registration fee to attend all of the sessions. DEC credits are planned for multiple sessions. Check the Lake Ontario Fruit Program website at lof.cce.cornell.edu or the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program website at enych.cce.cornell.edu for program and registration updates.
The 2021 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held virtually Feb. 8–11.
The virtual convention will feature four days of concurrent educational sessions. Fruit sessions will cover tree fruit, pollination and berry topics. The virtual platform will include a trade show component.
Registration will cost $40 per person and will allow registrants to visit trade show exhibitors and participate in educational sessions during the week of the convention and for several weeks afterward, since all of the educational sessions will be recorded. It is expected that pesticide credits will be available for growers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
The Mid-Atlantic convention is sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society, the New Jersey State Horticultural Society and the Virginia State Horticultural Society. Penn State Extension, University of Maryland Extension, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Virginia Cooperative Extension will all assist in organizing the educational sessions.
For more information, visit www.mafvc.org. For general information on the convention program, call William Troxell at 717-694-3596, or email email@example.com. For information on exhibiting, call Maureen Irvin at 717-677-4184, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
—by Matt Milkovich