Wild Blueberry Newsletter January 2022
Growers, Processors, and Stakeholders,
Below you will find this year’s virtual UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference agenda. We are excited to cover many aspects of wild blueberry production this year and look forward to seeing you on zoom!
- All sessions start a 4:00 pm and could run for 1 or 2 hours depending on discussion back and forth.
- The login link and password are the same for all sessions. This information will be sent to you once you register online or call Mary to register over the phone at 207.581.3175.
- All participants will be muted automatically upon entering the meeting.
- Sessions will be recorded for later viewing.
Our Annual Research and Extension Report AND Pesticide Charts are almost complete and will be available in print and PDF versions on February 1st. You must sign up to receive your copy!
Tuesday, February 1
Wild Blueberry Weed Management (1PA Credit)
Dr. Lily Calderwood will kick off the conference with a talk covering the basics of wild blueberry weed management for both conventional and organic growers. She will also discuss the impact that heat and humidity have on herbicide efficacy and some research results.
Thursday, February 3
H2-A Program: Finding Labor
Join this session to learn about how and when to apply for migrant labor through the H2-A Federal Department of Labor program.
Tuesday, February 8
Improvements to Fresh Pack Lines for Quality and Food Safety
Producing and marketing fresh-pack wild blueberries has numerous challenges including the use of specialized equipment, limited time for product harvest and processing, and issues of shelf-life and shrinkage, just to name a few. Hear from two growers and one food scientist (Dr. Jen Perry) about some of the common as well as uncommon management practices, equipment usage, food safety SOPs and other practical knowledge of getting fresh wild blueberries to market.
Thursday, February 10
Expanding into Value-Added Products
New products and new markets have been arising for a few years now among both large and small-scale wild blueberry growers in Maine. This session will feature an organic wine producer, a farm that makes several dried fruit leather products, and a farm that makes dried wild blueberry powder, tincture, and more.
Tuesday, February 15
Disease Management Update (1PA Credit)
Dr. Seanna Annis will discuss the basics of disease management in wild blueberry and share her most recent findings on managing disease in wild blueberry for both conventional and organic wild blueberry growers.
Thursday, February 17
Marketing Skills, Building Websites, and Wild Blueberry Weekend Experience
Dr. Joline Blais from the New Media department at UMaine teaches a course called Designing Websites for Community Partners. She and her students would like to open up the opportunity to collaborate with wild blueberry growers to build grower websites where you can sell your berries and other products. In this session, she will share examples of websites they have made in the past and hear what growers would like to have on their websites. During this session, you will be able to sign up to join the Wild Blueberry Website Initiative to get sales going on your own website for FREE.
Ron Howard of Brodis Blueberries in Hope will finish this session by sharing their experience with the first Wild Blueberry Weekend.
Tuesday, February 22
Spotted Wing Drosophila Update (1PA Credit)
Dr. Phil Fanning will share his most recent findings and knowledge on the invasive SWD, a fruit fly pest of wild blueberry.
Thursday, February 24
Modern Wild Blueberry Production
Bruce Hall, an agronomist at Wyman’s of Maine, will share their current methods and philosophies around growing wild blueberries.
Tuesday, March 1
Business Management with Maine Farmland Trust
As you may know, MFT has launched the first Wild Blueberry Business Management course which is currently underway. Alex Fouliard will share learnings from this course, their work with wild blueberry growers, and lead a FarmCalc demonstration in an effort to assist with economic sustainability within the industry.
Thursday, March 3
Calderwood Team Research Update
Dr. Lily Calderwood and her team will share their most recent research results on multiple projects including phenological tracking of wild blueberry, dual-use solar, cold storage for fresh pack berries, and mulching for moisture management.
Tuesday, March 8
Pollinators! (1PA Credit)
Dr. Phil Fanning will discuss wild blueberry honey bee and bumblebee pollination in addition to the importance of our native pollinators in Maine wild blueberry production.
Thursday, March 10
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine Update
Eric Venturini, Executive Director, will share an update of Commission activities and Bruce Hall, Chair of the Wild Blueberry Commission Advisory Committee, will share the role of this committee on research activities with the UMaine researchers.
Tuesday, March 15
Drought and Water Management in Wild Blueberry
Dr. Yongjiang Zhang, plant physiologist, will share his recent findings on climate change, drought, and water management in wild blueberry.
Thursday, March 17
Eric Venturini will facilitate a panel on Certifications available to farmers including MOFGA Organic, Bee Better Certified, Non-GMO Project, and Certified Naturally Grown.