FruitGrowerConnect: The Idea Exchange

Mealtime at FruitGrowerConnect is a great time for networking and sharing with your fellow growers what you've learned. (Photo credit: Rosemary Gordon)
Mealtime at FruitGrowerConnect is a great time for networking and sharing with your fellow growers what you’ve learned. (Photo credit: Rosemary Gordon)

Twenty fruit growers gathered along with supplier operations at the beautiful Hyatt Centric Park City in the breathtaking mountains of Utah this past week for a unique opportunity for their businesses: FruitGrowerConnect.

This annual event brings together some of the most progressive tree fruit, grape, and nut growers in the Western U.S. with suppliers and product solutions ranging from crop protection and nutrition to irrigation and nursery stock.

In advance of the event, each grower attendee took part in an in-depth interview to identify his or her most pressing needs and upcoming projects. Suppliers were recruited in categories that could offer solutions to those problems.

The result was two full days of private, 50-minute, decision maker-to-decision maker meetings between growers and vendors.

The event provided an efficient environment for discussions, free from the day-to-day distractions on the farm. Both the growers and the vendors decided in advance who they wanted to meet with, eliminating time wasted on meetings that weren’t a good fit for each.

Nonetheless, Tim Welsh, Tree Fruit and Variety Manager for Columbia Fruit Packers, Inc. in Wenatchee, WA, said he was a little leery at first about the concept.

“I was kind of a skeptic coming in,” said the first-time attendee. “It’s been an event that I’ve been surprised a little bit about because I was uncertain I would enjoy it as much and connect as much I would, and ultimately I have connected with some very good vendors.”

Jeff Leonardini, IPM Manager for Washington Fruit & Produce Co. of Yakima, WA, had attended FruitGrowerConnect before, so he had a better idea of what to expect. He was not disappointed.

“The quality of the suppliers I met this week were outstanding. I did not know 50% of the suppliers,” he said. “It’s a wonderful experience to meet new people with new ideas, new materials and new technologies.”

Never underestimate the value of a good idea, said Leonardini, an American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® Apple Grower of the YearSM, and FruitGrowerConnect is a great place to find them.

“I have the opportunity to connect with new potential valuable business partners who have new ideas that can help us grow, maximize our production, and be stewards of the land,” he said.

In addition to the private meetings, growers and vendors also had numerous opportunities during meals, receptions, and breaks throughout the day for informal discussions that also lead to solutions.

Welsh found the back-and-forth invaluable.

“I would just say there’s an opportunity to learn,” he said, “and when you get an opportunity to learn, take advantage of it.”

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Cannabis plant closeup
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal Cannabis License
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Falcon-takes-flight-at-Duncan-Family-Farms
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan Family Farms
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarship to Next Generation Researcher
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How to Dig Down Deep
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
seattle port shipping
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Grapes
May 19, 2017
Researchers Still Have a Lot to Learn about Spotted Lanternfly
While some feeding habits have been recognized, there’s still a learning curve with this enigmatic invasive pest. Read More
Fruits
May 19, 2017
Representatives Introduce Bill to Boost Organic Farming Research
As organic production continues to grow, legislators seek to boost research funding, which has remained stagnant for many years. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the U.S. Rule
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sought by EPA
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 29, 2017
NOAA Betting on Another Busy Atlantic Hu…
Forecasters predict above-normal storm activity, depending on El Niño's naughtiness. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Fruits
May 19, 2017
Representatives Introduce Bill to Boost …
As organic production continues to grow, legislators seek to boost research funding, which has remained stagnant for many years. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the…
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control fo…
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Fruits
May 4, 2017
Senate Democrats Unveil New Ag Labor Pla…
Feinstein, colleagues introduce legislation to shield farmworkers from deportation. Read More
Fruits
May 2, 2017
Penn State Offers Tips To Manage Early S…
Warm weather has quickly accelerated development of insects. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2017
BASF Adds Pest, Crop, Weather Modeling t…
ZedX’s agronomic models help farmers make better production decisions. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More