Greetings from Whately, MA - In this edition we cover several important topics, including some that came up in the many good discussions during our winter meetings. Most of the meetings were very well attended, indicating continued high interest in berry production.
Dealing with adverse weather conditions – after numerous weather extremes during the 2017 season, this winter followed up with severe cold temperatures -- compounded by long durations of close to 2 weeks. Given relatively little snow cover, there is a concern about potential impact on small fruit plants, particularly strawberries. Our winter injury article in this newsletter gives an overview for assessing and managing strawberry winter injury.
New production systems – not necessarily new to some growers, high tunnel raspberry production was a topic at many of the meetings, with discussion of variety selection and overall production. We have had excellent success in the use of high tunnels in our own raspberry production and welcome any questions you may have. Low tunnel use in strawberries is also of interest, with good information coming out of university trials. We plan to test their use in 2018.
Marketing – each winter meeting we attended either had a specific track on marketing, or several different sessions. Sessions were very well attended, particularly the ones on social media, agritourism, web-based marketing and public/media relations.
Pest control – after a wet 2017 in parts of the country, phytophthora & black root rot control was on growers’ minds, as was the continuing pressure from SWD (SpottedWing Drosophila). A comprehensive scouting program has been reinforced, given the challenges growers faced last year with flower thrips in strawberries and broad mites in raspberries.
Here at Nourse Farms we are preparing for the upcoming shipping season. We understand the critical importance of coordination and on-time delivery. We continue to upgrade our processes for the highest customer service performance for our customers. Your assistance in keeping us informed of your planting situation is important.
Thank you for your past business and wishing you the best for the 2018 season.