Bright and early Thursday morning, Oct. 29, 126 people arrived in Whitefield for the annual North Country Fruit and Vegetable Seminar and Tradeshow. This was the sixth year we’ve run this program at the Mountain View Grand and as usual they came through with an “as local as possible” meal which included squash, beets, kale and tomatoes grown by some of the attendees.
This year we invited David Handley from University of Maine Cooperative Extension to talk about tips and tricks for growing sweet corn in the somewhat challenging conditions of the North Country. In the afternoon, we had him come back up on stage to talk about the issues to consider before jumping into berry production.
Nada Haddad and Kelly McAdam from UNH Cooperative Extension’s Agricultural Business Management Team talked about marketing through traditional channels and about how to take advantage of internet resources to increase public awareness of your business. Jessica Sprague from our Food Safety Team talked about food safety considerations in wash station design.
We ended the day with a farmer panel discussion on mushroom production. Luc Lamirande from New Earth Organic Farm in Colebrook and Dean Bascom from Montebello Mushrooms in Newbury, VT talked about outdoor shitake mushroom production on logs, while Eric Milligan from the New Hampshire Mushroom Company talked about the challenges and opportunities in growing specialty mushrooms indoors.
Fourteen businesses and organizations from around New England participated in the tradeshow portion of the day. These booths provide farmers with an opportunity to learn about new products coming on the market, like climate-controlled bins for small scale farms and netting that helps combat insect and bird pests without using pesticides. For the organization booths it’s an opportunity to spread the word about services available to farmers from insurance, to technical assistance for conservation, marketing and conflict resolution.
Thanks again to all the farms, businesses, volunteers and participants who helped us put together this fun and educational day.