The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association’s (NARBA) upcoming annual conference is shaping up to be a must-attend event for all berry growers. Taking place Jan. 27-30, 2013, in Portland, OR, the conference not only includes three days of tours and meetings for NARBA members, it will also be held jointly with the North American Strawberry Growers Association Conference. Also on tap? An annual Blueberry Workshop, which will be held Jan. 29.
The highlight of the conference will no doubt be the full-day tour on Jan. 28, with several stops along the way including:
• The Oregon State University North Willamette Research and Extension Center, with lots of field research as well an opportunity to evaluate frozen berries of different cultivars.
• Columbia Empire Farms, a vertically integrated grower/processor.
• Unger Farms, growers of both caneberries and strawberries, with a retail market.
• Afternoon stops at several farms/berry fields (final schedule TBD).
The full details of the educational programing for both caneberries and strawberries are still being finalized. In the meantime, here is what attendees can look forward to in the general sessions:
• Grower Spotlight: Julie Schedeen, Schedeens’ Farm, Boring, OR. A dynamic presenter from a diversified and successful farm.
• Grower Spotlight: Carolyn Vouligny, Production Horticole Demers, Quebec.
• Managing Spotted Wing Drosophila: Panel Discussion, followed by breakout sessions for both caneberries and strawberries.
• New Food Safety Regulations: What Will They Mean for Berry Growers?
• Making the Most of Berry Health Benefits.
There will be breakout sessions on a variety of caneberry topics. Strawberry educational sessions will run concurrently with the bramble ones. Here are some that are planned (with some confirmed speakers):
• Caneberry CSI: Figuring out your mysterious problems in the field: Mark Bolda, University of California-Santa Cruz Extension (also a similar session for strawberries)
• Breeding Update: Chad Finn, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Corvallis, OR
• Organic Blackberry Research: Bernadine Strik, others
• Experiences Managing PrimeArk 45 in Different Regions
• Berry Tissue Nutrient Levels and Fertigation – David Bryla, USDA-ARS, Corvallis
For more information on the NARBA Conference, go to www.raspberryblackberry.com.