Wild Blueberry Newsletter February 2020

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

February 2020

Wild Blueberry Producers,

The Downeast Agriculture Conference was educational and fun with 60 active participants. We can’t wait for the UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference on February 22.

Wild Blueberry Conference

Three pesticide applicator credits have been approved for all day attendance of the event. There is still time to become a sponsor or exhibitor for the event. Please contact Mary at the number below or Lily by email (lily.calderwood@maine.edu) to reserve an exhibitor table. Many thanks to those who have already contributed.

praying mantis on rakePre-registration is required. Please check out the agenda and register online or by calling Mary Michaud (207.581.3175 or 1.800.287.0274).

Free parking is available in the big parking garage. The event is in the Hollywood Casino Hotel (500 Main St, Bangor, ME). Go into the hotel (not the Ca$ino) and take a right to find the Lancaster Room.

We are looking for your feedback on many topics.

1. SWD. We have been dealing with Spotted Wing Drosophila for 10 years and it is time to transition from short-term crisis response to long-term goals. Our new crop entomologist, Dr. Phillip Fanning, is a leader in this field. Please assist us in addressing this pest as part of a national team of researchers to continue the development of new management strategies for this invasive pest by filling out this survey.

2. Equipment. We have heard from small wild blueberry growers that there is a need for agricultural engineering or improvements to current equipment. Because a lot of the equipment we need already exists, Lily would like to take a group of farmers to Nova Scotia to see wild blueberry equipment at manufacturers and on farms. Please indicate your interest in such a trip here.

3. Climate Change. Researchers at the University of Maine are looking for wild blueberry farmers to participate in a focus group discussion on climate adaptation resources as part of a USDA-AFRI funded project. Participating farmers will be compensated with a $50 Visa gift card for their time and snacks will be provided.
When:  Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 1-2:30 pm
Where: Hancock County Extension Office, 63 Boggy Brook Road, Ellsworth, ME
Interested?  Contact Sonja Birthisel at sonja.birthisel@maine.edu or 207.228.3601 to sign up.
*Focus group participation is limited to 10 farms and compensation is per farm, not per individual.

Other Events

Baskets to Pallets’ Marketing Intensive
Are you in search of New Markets? Are you considering wholesale channels such as food hubs, grocery stores, schools, restaurants and cooperatives?
When: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 9:30-4:00 pm
Where: Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY
For more information and to Register Online.

NH Wild Blueberry Grower and Producer Meeting
Growers and landowners are invited to join us in a discussion and listening session on the future of the wild blueberry crop in New Hampshire. Marketing, value added products, crop diversification and preparing for a warming climate will be a focus. Emphasis on maintaining viability and profitability.
When: Tuesday, March17, 2020, 9-12:00 pm
Where: Tumbletown Café, 21 Meadow Street, Sandbornville, NH
For more information and to Register Online.