The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2017, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA. More than 2,100 fruit, vegetable, and berry growers and others related to the industry from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond are expected to attend.
This year’s convention will again feature several pre-convention workshops, a farm market bus tour, and a trade show with over 160 exhibitors plus three full days of seven or more concurrent educational sessions.
The day before the main convention opens, growers can chose between a bus tour of Pennsylvania farm markets or several different workshops. The workshops include Food Safety Modernization Act grower training, hands-on apple tree grafting, cider symposium, hops production, greenhouse vegetable production, recall readiness, vegetable grafting, and Pennsylvania pesticide applicator license training.
The Mid-Atlantic Convention has been jointly sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society, and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society for the past 39 years. In 2014, the Virginia State Horticultural Society also began meeting at the Convention as well.
The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, and Virginia Tech University all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions.
The convention has become one of the premier grower meetings in the Northeast. The Great American Hall and the Aztec Room at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center will host the trade show. Specialized horticultural equipment, farm market merchandise, and packaging will be on display along with information on the latest seed varieties, fruit varieties, crop protection tools, and other supplies and services for commercial growers.
Many pesticide applicator update training credits will be available to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia growers attending the sessions. The program covers nearly every aspect of fruit, vegetable, potato, and berry production.
Seven or eight concurrent educational sessions will be offered on all three days of the convention. Besides a combined session for the keynote address, the opening day will feature breakout sessions on pome fruit, fall ornamentals and vine crops, organic vegetables, broccoli, snap beans, asparagus, crucifers, winter storage crops, hydroponics, changing climate, market trends, wholesale marketing and labor/farm management.
On the second day, sessions on marketing 101, agritainment, small fruit, tree fruit, sweet corn, high tunnels, greenhouse ornamentals, wine grapes, cover crops, onions, and general vegetables will be offered.
A session called “Técnicas de Producción de Frutas y Hortalizas” also will be offers for Spanish speaking workers in the fruit and vegetable industries. It will feature various relevant production presentations in Spanish.
The convention will close on the third day with sessions on stone fruit, tree fruit, tomatoes, CSAs, social media and advertising, high tunnels, small fruit, specialty vegetables, leafy greens, potatoes, and cut flowers.
- The 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest will be conducted during the convention to determine the best tasting cider produced in the region.
- On Jan. 31, growers will gather for the annual Fruit and Vegetable Growers Banquet which will include awards and recognitions.
- On Feb. 1, an Ice Cream Social will take place in the evening.
Registration is required for the convention trade show or educational sessions. For more information, call 717-677-4184 or 717-694-3596.