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  • Organization News
    2008 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention – Growing for the Future There is something for everyone
    By Donna Speranzini - OMAFRA, Vineland

    This year's Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention promises to be one of the biggest and best yet! OMAFRA Agriculture Development Branch staff have used all of their connections and resources to deliver and bring leading edge production technology to Ontario growers. Topics covered address both the challenges of today as well as the potential for the tomorrow. Commodity production sessions for this year include: grapes, tender fruit, berries, apples, wine production, vine crops, tomatoes and peppers and a general field vegetable session.

    Some highlights of these sessions include:

    • Results of Ontario soil moisture monitoring research and a presentation on the tools you need.

    • Final conclusions from the Ontario Wind Machine in Grapes Study

    • New weed management strategies for vine crops, tomatoes and peppers

    • New techniques for peach thinning

    • Japanese beetle management

    • Success growing vegetables 365 days a year.

    • High tunnel production for vegetables

    • The role of the viticulturist in the winery

    • Storage techniques to improve apple quality.

    Complimenting these production topics are several sessions dealing with new management opportunities and challenges. These sessions include organic production, on-farm traceability, specialty crop production and local foods. In these sessions you can find out about:

    • Receiving municipal dollars to promote local foods

    • How to make community shared agriculture fit into your farm operation

    • Tips for how to market specialty crops in Ontario

    • The potential for lavender production in Ontario

    • How your peers have been able to introduce traceability programs

    • Where bio-pesticides fit in organic production.

    New this year are two hands-on workshops. Our evaluations have always identified a desire for participants to get more detailed information on specific production issues. These workshops are designed to be interactive and practical.

    The first of these workshops will be on Feb 20, the first day of the convention and will focus on Food Safety. This workshop consists of 4 one hour sessions. You can attend just one session or stay for them all. The first topic is managing irrigation water - what to sample, how to sample and what are you looking for in a sample. The second topic is post-harvest water management. It will discuss the pros and cons of some of the sanitizers currently on the market; what factors you need to be aware of that can alter the sanitizer's effectiveness and how to monitor sanitizer levels. The third session is on hygiene and hand washing and the fourth session is on how to safely work with manures and composts.

    The second workshop offered deals specifically with Fireblight. It will run on February 21st , the second day of the convention. Recently, new biological based products such as Bloom Time, Blight Ban and Serenade have been registered in Canada to help manage fire blight and possibly reduce the risk of resistance development. The effectiveness of these new products requires precise application and timing. Participants at this workshop will learn how to use and interpret the simple fire blight prediction and decision support based model Cougar Blight to aid in the timely application of products to manage Fire blight. Participants will learn about the differences between prediction models and how they can be used in a Fire blight management system. Fire blight resistance management, the effectiveness of the biological based products and the latest research on resistant root stocks will also be discussed. Be sure to attend one of these workshops.

    The convention also offers first class programs delivered by Farmers' Markets Ontario and the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association. All of this plus the largest fruit and vegetable trade show in Canada, an all Ontario produce lunch and the ever popular evening Niagara Food and Wine Event makes this years convention something you don't want to miss.

    The 2008 Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, takes place at Brock University on February 20 and 21, 2008. Look for registration forms in Fruit and Vegetable Magazine, at local OMAFRA Resource Centers, or online at www.ofvc.ca. See you there.

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