HERSHEY, Pa. — The 2023 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention will be held at the Hershey Lodge from January 31O to February 2. Multiple concurrent educational sessions will be featured all three days along with a large industry trade show. Michael Kilpatrick with Growing Farmers will be this year’s keynote speaker. An Adams County bus tour and several pre-convention workshops will be offered on January 30, 2023.
Normally over 2,200 fruit, vegetable, and berry growers and other industry personnel from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond gather each year for what has become one of the premier grower meetings on the East Coast. The 2023 Convention will be the 46th annual gathering of growers at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Michael Kilpatrick is a farmer, presenter, host, inventor, and online entrepreneur who lives to help entrepreneurs apply business principles and practical, proven solutions to grow their businesses and simplify their lives.
His keynote topic will be “Thriving in Uncertain Times”. He is the owner of Growing Farmers, an online farmer education platform, host of the top-rated Thriving Farmer Podcast; and host of the Thriving Farmer Summit series, which has been viewed by over a quarter million farmers. He has managed large farms and businesses, consulted for industry experts worldwide, and spoken at dozens of conferences. Michael believes anyone can build a profitable farm by following the proprietary RIPEN system that he teaches in the Small Farm University, his company’s educational platform and community for thriving farmers. Michael lives in an 1890s brick house on his 8-acre urban Farm on Central in Southwest Ohio with his wife and 3 kids.
Plans are being made to offer exceptional educational sessions on a full range of topics in tree fruit, vegetable, small fruit, and potato production plus retail and wholesale marketing. Greenhouse ornamental and cut flower sessions plus sessions on urban agriculture will be included as well. Also offered will be special sessions presented in Spanish for Spanish-speaking industry members. A more detailed schedule with topics and speakers will be announced soon.
The day before the main Convention opens, growers can choose between a bus tour of horticultural businesses in the Adams County area or several different workshops. The workshops include Greenhouse Vegetables, Fruit Tree Pruning; Soil Fertility and Health, Managing a Profitable Farm Market Bakery, Farm Transition, FSMA Grower Training, Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training, and Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator License Training. The bus tour will be visiting Hollabaugh Brothers farm market, Musselman’s Greenhouse, Rice Fruit Co., and Adams County Nursery with lunch at Hickory Bridge Farm.
On the opening day of the Convention, besides a keynote presentation, there will be production sessions on High Tunnels, Tree Fruit, General Vegetables, Soil Health/Cover Crops, Urban Agriculture, Snap Beans, Garlic, Phytophthora Management, and Biocontrols plus marketing sessions on Farm Market Staff Training, Achieving Success at Farmers’ Markets, and Wholesale Marketing.
Sessions on the second day include Tomatoes, Tree Fruit, Stone Fruit, Basic Vegetable Production, Greenhouse Ornamentals, Small Fruit, and Organic Vegetable Production plus Marketing 101 and Diversification in Agritourism marketing sessions and two Labor/Farm Management sessions, one of which will focus on using H-2A workers. Also offered will be the session “Técnicas de Producción de Frutas y Hortalizas” especially for Spanish speaking workers in the fruit and vegetable industries. It will feature various relevant production presentations in Spanish. An evening discussion session will focus on Commercializing Your Ideas.
On the final day of the Convention, sessions on Tree Fruit, Stone Fruit, Small Fruit, Sweet Corn, Pumpkins, Potatoes, General Vegetables, Cut Flowers, Pollinators, Equipment Technology, Growing and Marketing High Value Niche Crops for Direct Marketing and Digital and Social Media Marketing will be featured.
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 since 1978. In 2014, the Virginia State Horticultural Society also began meeting at the Convention. Extension personnel from Penn State, University of Maryland, Rutgers and Virginia Tech all assist in organizing the three days of educational sessions.
The Great American Hall and the Aztec Room at the Hershey Lodge will host most of the Trade Show with several additional booths being located in the Confection Level Lobby. Specialized horticultural equipment, farm market merchandise, and packaging will all be on display along with information on the latest seed varieties, fruit varieties, pesticides and other supplies and services for the commercial grower.
Many pesticide applicator update training credits will be available to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia growers attending the sessions. Arrangements are also being made to offer respirator-fits tests for pesticide applicators. The program covers nearly every aspect of fruit, vegetable, potato and berry production. Commercial growers should not pass up this terrific educational opportunity. Just as important, however, is the opportunity to network with fellow growers and others in the industry. Many growers feel that is the most important part of the Convention.
The sixteenth annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest will be conducted during the Convention to determine the best tasting cider produced in the region. On January 31, fruit and vegetable growers will gather for the annual Fruit and Vegetable Growers Banquet which will include awards and recognitions. On February 1, there will be an Ice Cream Social for all in the evening plus a reception for apple growers.
Registration is required for all persons attending the Convention trade show or educational sessions. Registration with any of the five sponsoring organizations allows one to attend any of the sessions although there are additional charges for workshops and meals. For further information, go to www.mafvc.org or call 717-677-4184 or 717-694-3596.
–Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention