<![CDATA[Site Title]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/ Thu, 19 May 2022 12:45:39 GMT Thu, 19 May 2022 12:45:39 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[Greetings from Whately]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately-spring-2022 https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately-spring-2022 Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT After more than 50 years as the owner and President of Nourse Farms, I have decided to step away from the day-to-day operational leadership of the company. 

We are very pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2022, John Place has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer at Nourse Farms. Many of you have met John and know him to be a highly accomplished farmer and successful business executive. He has been with us for nearly 3 years as our Chief Operating Officer and has made a significant impact on our performance to date, with an entrepreneurial eye for future opportunity, and an appreciation for our loyal employees and customers that make everything possible.

Nourse Farms, Inc. will be establishing a Board of Directors through the first half of the year, and I will serve as Chairman.

At Nourse Farms, we know our success comes from serving the needs of our customers at a very high level. This will not change with our leadership transition.

Our number one priority will always be to deliver exceptional assistance through excellent customer service and high-quality plants. Our future looks bright in our core business, and we are developing new lines of business to position us for continued growth in the future.

We look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come the same way we have in years past. Feel free to reach out to either me or John if you have any questions. Here’s to a terrific 2022 and beyond!

Best Regards,

Tim Nourse

John Place

Posted in: Newsletter, Newsletter Greeting

<![CDATA[Fungicide Resistance]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfungicide-resistance https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfungicide-resistance Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT Recent studies have shown an increase in fungicide resistance of important fungal pathogens in some regions.

This brings up the importance of having a good mix of fungicides, from different classes and with different modes of action. Fungicides are grouped by their modes of action, each group is given a FRAC code, a number and/or letter. Most fungicides affect a single metabolic site, single site, however some affect multiple sites, multisite.

In general, single-site fungicides are more susceptible to developing resistance than multisite fungicides, like Captan. To avoid building resistance, growers should use a combination of multi-site fungicides and single-site fungicides with different FRAC codes, avoiding applying the same FRAC more than 2 times per season. When disease pressure is high, tank-mixing multi-site and single-site fungicides can provide better control.

During drier periods, when disease infection is less favorable, growers can extend spray intervals. Maintaining good cultural control including proper row and aisle spacing to achieve adequate air circulation and light penetration will
also greatly reduce pressure.

We have had reports of growers seeing resistance with more commonly used fungicides including Elevate and Pristine. We have seen good results with Kenja but growers should speak to local extension agents for possible resistance build ups and recommendations on the best alternative for their region.

Posted in: Bramble Production, Newsletter, Pests, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Five Points to Prepare]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfive-points-to-prepare-2022 https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfive-points-to-prepare-2022 Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT 1. TIMELY RENOVATION OF STRAWBERRIES

Renovation of June Bearing strawberry plants is a critical component to growing strawberries and must be performed in a timely manner to ensure success. Renovating your field provides an opportunity to control weeds, apply fertilizer, and thin your rows. There are factors that may delay renovation, such as a heat or water stressed field, but, if possible, renovation should be performed immediately after harvest. If renovation is not performed by the second week in August, you should skip mowing but fertilize and narrow your rows regardless. If you think you may have missed the renovation window, give us a call to discuss your options. 


Inflation has soared to its highest level in four decades, with the Consumer Price Index jumping over 7 percent for the year ending in December. We know prices are increasing on just about everything. There is no question growers will need to get more money for their berries. Marketing and pricing of fruit is as important as selecting the best varieties and using the best management practices. The question is how much should growers raise their pricing – 5%, 10%, 15% or more?

Considerations for pricing:

Production budgets. Now is the time to finetune production budgets for this season. Take a close look at budget increases, particularly in the following areas, where we anticipate the largest:
• Fuel & Transportation
• Labor (Seasonal and Full time)
• Packaging (Containers)
• Spray materials
• Fertilizer

Most state cooperative extension departments have excellent budgeting tools on their website.

Farm location. Farms located in more urban or metro areas, where the costs of living and farming are greater, may need a higher price increase.

Production type. Day neutral strawberries, organic, and berries produced in controlled environments (high tunnels) cost more to produce. As the fruit is often produced outside typical ripening seasons or conventional farming, they can garner a higher price increase.

Farm services & entertainment. Providing containers, clean bathroom facilities and farm entertainment (hayrides, petting zoos, etc.) are all incentives for consumers to pay more for your product.

Expanded marketing of berry health benefits. Marketing messages all growers should be promoting are the health benefits of berries as well as “Buying Local.” Scientists have found berries to have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fresh fruits (measured as ORAC), with kale and spinach being the only vegetables with ORAC values as high as fresh, delicious local berries. Social media, including META (Facebook), Instagram and Twitter can assist in focusing on the high value of local berries. 


Growers have reported an increased need for frost protection over the last several years and we expect this trend to continue. Strawberry plants grow close to the soil and blossom earlier than many other crops, putting them at risk for spring frost and freeze damage. Frost protection is in an important component to a successful strawberry planting, as frost and freeze can cause significant injury to strawberry plants, during open blossom, but also to unopened buds if it is cold enough. There are several options available for frost protection, including overhead watering, row covers, and wind machines/return stack heaters. We believe overhead watering is the most dependable option. Below is a chart of critical temperatures for plant tissue, which are a degree or two lower than critical air temperatures. Because of the variables involved, we recommend beginning frost protection when temperatures are expected to drop below 32.


As more growers consider switching to plasticulture production for bare root strawberries, it is important to note that planting dates for plastic should be later in the season than for matted row production. Planting too early on plastic leads to the development of too many branch crowns which can signifi cantly reduce berry size and yield. Further, there is an increased development of runners which will require an extra round of removal. Growers should be planting bare root strawberries on plastic between mid-June to mid-July depending on your region and aim for 3-4 branch crowns at the end of the season. Strawberry plugs on plastic should be planted approx. 30 days after bare root, or between early-August to mid-September, depending on location.


We learned this past year that SURFLAN was no longer going to be available. Surflan has been a safe herbicide for brambles. A labeled alternative for SURFLAN is TRELLIS SC, manufactured by Dow AgroSciences (now known as Corteva). Growers will need to try Trellis SC to gain experience. As it has more activity than Surflan, I would
suggest you begin at the lower rate when applying it to sandy soils.

• Trellis will be most effective if watered in with a half inch of rain or irrigation.
• Labeled rates – 16 to 31 fl. ounces/acre.
• Apply Trellis when the soil is settled around newly planted plants.
• Do not apply within 60 days of harvest.
• Recommended not to apply through the irrigation system.

There is a supplemental label for Trellis SC that each grower should obtain for their records. Each grower should check to be sure Trellis is registered for your state. Currently Trellis appears to be labeled for all states except New York. The chemistry, isoxaban, is not registered for New York.


Posted in: Newsletter, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Key Rust Diseases in Brambles]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postkey-rust-diseases-in-brambles https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postkey-rust-diseases-in-brambles Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT Identification and Management of Orange Rust & Late Leaf/Yellow Rust

With the number of long periods of wet weather over the last two years, we have fielded numerous calls looking for information regarding the type of rust the growers may have. Orange rust and Late Leaf (yellow) rust are distinctly different both in their appearance as well as their severity.


Orange rust, the most common and serious of the rust diseases attacking brambles, can be caused by two stages of a single rust fungus. Aethuriomyces peckianus is the long-cycled state that typically affects black raspberries. Gymnoconia nitens is the short-cycled state of the rust fungus in erect, and trailing blackberries.
Neither fungus has an alternate host, which is common for other rust diseases of raspberry. Orange rust is not known to affect red raspberries.

In the spring, leaves on infected plants appear stunted, and misshapen. In some cases, orange spores can be detected on the underside of lower leaves. Spores will spread the disease to other plants and will spread to the plants root system by fall. Orange rust is systemic in the plant.

Management of Orange Rust

Each spring, inspect plants for any signs of the disease. Southeast U.S. growers may begin seeing symptoms as early as March, late April or May in the north. It is critical to identify and control this early – if not controlled, it will go systemic in the plant, kill it, and provide inoculum to other plants. Immediately dig, remove, and destroy infected plants early, before pustules break open and spores can spread. Rally, Tilt or Abound are main tools for chemical control of orange rust and should be applied early at first sign of pustules. Sulfur sprays are an option for organic growers. Sound cultural practices are also key for managing orange rust.

Remove and destroy all wild blackberry and wild black raspberry plants in the area, as they harbor the disease.

Good air movement throughout the planting is important. Use good thinning and pruning practices, and keep weeds to a minimum.

Orange rust (top & bottom photos) seen with very distinct orange sporulation on the undersides of leaves. Young, infected primocanes are often stunted. Leaf lesions are blister-like in appearance, and they are more pronounced on the periphery of the leaf, as opposed to the leaf center. Spores are generally round with lobed margins, as opposed to spiny.

Photos courtesy of “Is it Blackberry Leaf Rust or Orange Rust?” www.raspberryblackberry.com
Authors John R. Clark, University of Arkansas and Phil Brannen, University of Georgia

A potentially serious disease of red raspberries, late leaf rust (Pucciniastrum Americanum) can affect leaves, canes, and fruit. It appears in late July or early August first on lower foliage with small chlorotic or yellow areas initially. Unless it’s severe, foliar infections may be diffi cult to see. More advanced symptoms include the appearance of yellow masses on the underside of leaves. The yellow presence on fruit makes them not marketable. It is important to control when first seen, as it can spread rapidly during wet periods. We have seen it in grower fi elds where it will completely defoliate the plant and eliminate harvest. Fall bearing varieties Heritage, Caroline and Anne are particularly susceptible.

Pustules on individual drupelets on infected fruit. Note the masses of yellow spores. Photo courtesy of The Ohio
State University, Bulletin PLPATHFRU-30

Management of Late Leaf (Yellow) Rust

Controls for Late Leaf (Yellow) Rust are similar to Orange Rust. Chemical control rotating Rally, Tilt or Abound fungicides are warranted beginning at first signs of infection. Unlike orange rust, late leaf rust is not systemic and can be eliminated from the planting. Most of the fungicides that are rated for late leaf are also rated for other leaf/cane diseases. Cultural controls include trellising, proper spacing, cane/leaf management, use of
drip irrigation. With orange rust and late leaf (yellow) rust, if you identify and control it successfully early, you
may not see the advanced symptoms that are extremely detrimental to your crop and planting.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Cane and leaf rust. Lesions are found throughout the underside of the leaf, and sporulating lesions are generally yellow in appearance and do not distort the leaf. Lesions are also found on canes. Above photos courtesy of “Is it Blackberry Leaf Rust or Orange Rust?” www.raspberryblackberry.com
Authors John R. Clark, University of Arkansas and Phil Brannen, University of Georgia

Posted in: Bramble Production, Newsletter

<![CDATA[Double Cropping Raspberries]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postdouble-cropping-raspberries https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postdouble-cropping-raspberries Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT For growers who are looking to extend their harvest season without planting several varieties, everbearing varieties are an excellent option.

When selecting a variety of raspberries, one of the first questions asked of growers is “what is your desired harvest time?” Are you looking for summer production, fall production or both? 

True commercial everbearers can produce both a primocane and floricane crop effectively, double-cropping. Double-cropping increases the overall yield while also extending the harvest season. Several primocane fruiting varieties also offer good summer crops in addition to their normal fall harvest. Additionally, there are some traditionally summer-bearing varieties which also produce a good quality fall crop, Prelude and Nova are excellent examples. 

Double-cropping can be a good option for most growers in zone 5 or warmer. The use of high tunnels can drastically increase yields, up to 50% increase, as well as extend the season and provide better quality fruit. For growers in cooler climates, use of a high tunnel can be necessary to extend the growing season when doublecropping. 

Good cane management is essential for maximizing yields. Trellising plants is also necessary to maintain high yields and reduce loss and breakage from wind, crop load, and winter damage. Attaching canes to the trellis wire with clips locks the canes in place, thus reducing potential damage from wind and fruit weight and increasing winter protection. After summer harvest, floricanes should be removed at ground level and primocanes can be thinned to 6 – 8 canes per linear foot of row. Primocanes should then be clipped onto the trellis wires. In late fall, when plants reach or are close to dormancy, cut canes to 4’ – 5’.

Himbo Top is a vigorous mid-season primocane variety that has good winter hardiness and has shown good tolerance to Phytophthora root rot. It has very large berries with a lighter color, which does not dark after picking. Given its vigor this variety is a good option for organic production but should be thinned and trellis for best results. Care should also be taken not to overapply nitrogen as it can cause soft fruit.

Joan J is a very high yielding, thornless variety which primocane crop ripens a week after Polka. Its large fruit have a dark color when fully ripe and will darken after picking so they should be picked every other day. Fruit can be picked under ripe to increase shelf life but with a loss of flavor. This variety is an excellent choice for high tunnel production.

Prelude is often treated as a floricane but in fact it does produce a good quality late primocane crop in zone 5 or warmer. The earliest producing floricane variety, Prelude has excellent vigor and winter hardiness. Fruit is medium-large, roundconic with very good flavor. 

Mapema® U.S. Plant Patent #27,182
This is the earliest ripening variety from ABB, with harvest similar to Polka. Mapema produces over a long season. Berries are large and firm with very good flavor, however the color can be a little dark. In zones 6 or warmer, especially when grown in a high tunnel, Mapema produces an excellent floricane crop.

Imara® U.S. Plant Patent #23,916
An extremely productive primocane variety from ABB that begins production shortly after Mapema, about 7 – 10 days. Fruit is well displayed and release easily when ripe. Berries are medium-large, bright red, with very good flavor.

Kweli® U.S. Plant Patent #23,915
A mid-season primocane variety from ABB, which begins fruiting just after Imara. With very high yields of large, bright fruit with excellent flavor and shelf life make Kweli an excellent choice for shipping as well as local sales. Due to its vigor, care should be taken to exclude excess canes to keep plants more open.

Kwanza® U.S. Plant Patent #23,914
Currently our most sought-after variety for southern growers and the west coast. The latest ripening varietiy from ABB, Kwanza begins fruiting about 3 weeks after Polka. The characteristics that make Kwanza a top variety include its large fruit size, good flavor, exceptional shelf life and ease of picking. Fruit also does not darken noticeably after harvest.

Posted in: Bramble Production, Newsletter

<![CDATA[Variety Spotlight: Mapema]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postvariety-spotlight-spring-2022 https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postvariety-spotlight-spring-2022 Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:00 GMT Variety Spotlight: Mapema® Red Raspberry
From the Advanced Berry Breeding (ABB) in the Netherlands.

Mapema characteristics:
• Early primocane variety, ripens about same as Polka with similar winter-hardiness.
• Large sized fruit.
• Growers like its good fl avor and it produces high yields.
• Growers reporting its continued excellent performance.
• Will produce a fl oricane crop in some areas of zone 5 and zone 6.

We have a good supply of Mapema available for 2022.
Licensing agreement required.
Bare Root $2.06/each + royalty. Minimum 200.

Posted in: Newsletter, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Greetings from Whately]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately-2022 https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately-2022 Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT Welcome to our 2022 Commercial Newsletter. We’ve included articles we think will help growers to achieve best results.

We are pleased to announce that 2022 is the 90th year that Nourse Farms has been in existence. This is a result of our loyal customers purchasing our plants year after year, and our dedicated employees’ hard work. We appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to be your trusted source for healthy, robust plant stock. 

We’ve had a successful second year producing plug plants for commercial growers, and are expanding production and variety choices for the coming season. We appreciate your support in the expansion of this program. review our 2022 program on page 10. 

We experienced another challenging production year due to weather extremes. For us, it was a wet season with record-breaking rainfalls. A growing season like this tests our management skills to maintain production. With the current changes in weather conditions that we are all experiencing, growers need to adjust their management for continued success.

We have been fortunate to have John Place as our Chief Operating Officer for two and a-half years now. John continues to grow our business and expand his role here as he transitions to Chief Executive Officer. I hope you will be able to meet him at the Trade Shows we will be attending this winter. For the past two sales seasons, we have experienced an unprecedented increase in demand for our plants. Therefore, I encourage you to order now to get the varieties you want. 

Wishing you the best for a successful 2022 season!

Posted in: Newsletter, Newsletter Greeting

<![CDATA[Strawberry Weed Control]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/poststrawberry-weed-control https://www.noursefarms.com/news/poststrawberry-weed-control Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT Growers’ use of fall herbicides is an important part of overall weed control in strawberries and is one the most common topics we receive questions on this time of year. Important points to consider when selecting the best herbicide for your situation:
  1. First and foremost, identify the primary weeds that you need to control. Two of the most common and difficult weeds are Chickweed and Purslane. Each grower may have other prominent weeds unique to your farm, and these need to be identified before deciding what herbicide to use. There are a variety of tools available for weed identification, including the MyIPM phone app, as well as the Cornell University (cornell.edu/weedid) and University of Wisconsin (wisc.edu/weedid) websites.
  2. To control many broadleaves, Dow Formula 40 or Weedar 64 can be a successful. To achieve good control, apply in late October or early November, while perennial weeds are green and growing. Hard frosts damage weed tissue to the point they cannot absorb the herbicide, making control difficult.
  3. Prominent herbicides for fall application:
    SPARTAN - An effective herbicide that is the best for controlling Purslane. Many of our customers are reporting good control using SPARTAN. It can be applied once plants have achieved dormancy and is also popular to use at renovation.
    CHATEAU - A very effective herbicide but requires very close calibration to avoid plant damage. I have suggested CHATEAU for Chickweed control to many growers without notice of any damage. Apply once the strawberry plants are dormant.
    SINBAR - An effective herbicide used by growers for many years. As a result, some weeds are resistant to SINBAR. To maintain effective control, rotate other herbicides as needed. As with other herbicides, apply once the plants are dormant.
  4. Special applications: 
    STINGER OR SPUR - An effective herbicide that controls many broadleaf weeds, especially thistles and clover. Similar to the application time of Dow Formula 40, it may be applied in late October or early November when plants are in early dormant stage, but perennial weeds are green and growing.
    SELECT MAX - An effective herbicide for the control of perennial grasses. It can be applied any time in October for effective control.

Strawberries achieve dormancy after 400 hours of accumulating temperatures between 32- and 45-degrees F. The leaves may look green but after 400 hours, they are dormant. If you have a cold spell where dormancy temperatures are accumulating, and then a few days when it warms up, accumulate an extra 20 or 30 hours of chill to be sure the plants are dormant to eliminate possible damage.

We have effective herbicides for fall application to control most of our weed pressure. Select the material that controls the weeds you have identified in your strawberry field. It is also important to check your sprayer calibration to eliminate over-application and possible damage. I have not included application rates as labels can be different from state to state. I suggest you check your state weed control recommended rates or the product label.

Posted in: Newsletter, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Successful Wholesale Berry Operations]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postsuccessful-wholesale-berry-operations https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postsuccessful-wholesale-berry-operations Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT Many of our plant customers have added a wholesale component to their berry operation. With the excellent demand for locally picked fruit, this is a great opportunity for growers to increase sales. Based on our experience, I believe there are several factors to consider:

This is a challenging issue for all of agriculture these days and is an essential component that needs to be organized. Having a dependable crew of pickers means you will be a dependable supplier to your customers.

Maintaining good quality fruit for your customers is important for keeping your customers. Incorporating an effective fungicide program is a good beginning step. Berry condition is maximized by maintaining a good harvest interval. Keep the fruit picked to avoid overripe berries which adds to disease pressure. We have achieved this by picking a block of fruit every other day. Under ideal conditions of dry weather and cooler temperatures, a three-day interval can work but you can’t always depend on those conditions to last in our experience.

Weather is a factor we cannot control and needs to be managed around. Manage your fungicide applications around forecasted conditions, particularly weather events like heavy rain. This you can control and along with maintaining harvest interval, will assist in keeping fruit quality.

If you are picking fruit for delivery and use that day, cooling the fruit is not as important.  If you are holding fruit overnight for future deliveries, cooling is critical. We have found that picking fruit and delivering to the cooler throughout the day, helps maintain consistency. Removing the field heat reduces berry respiration and slows ripening. We set our cooler temperature at 34 degrees F.

Maintaining good communications with customers is very important. There are so many factors that we can’t control, with changes and adjustment common.  We have found that customers appreciate learning in advance, of changes to their order so they can plan accordingly. It doesn’t need to be complicated; a simple message or text will work to keep your customer informed.

Developing a wholesale component to your berry operation can increase sales and movement of berries. I believe there are some essential components to manage, as I have reviewed, to build a solid relationship with your customers.

Posted in: Newsletter

<![CDATA[Five Points to Ponder]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfive-points-to-ponder-2022 https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postfive-points-to-ponder-2022 Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT 1. TIPS FOR MEETING INCREASED DEMAND

Growers throughout the country have experienced good demand for locally grown fruit. A recent news story indicated berries in supermarkets are now the number one commodity.

How do we as local producers take advantage of this trend to increase our berry sales?
The incentive for increasing your berry production is the value of the crop. Very few crops can compete with the potential cash value per acre of berries. Buyers recognize the value of locally grown fruit and will pay the extra costs. 

One important component for increasing your berry production is the planning that is required. Things to be addressed include:

  1. The availability of land with the best soil types.
  2. Availability of land that is in rotation to plant back to berries.
  3. What berry types are your customers requesting? More strawberries, different colored raspberries, or fruit in a different season?
  4. What berry types are you most comfortable in expanding? Do you want to expand into another berry type or increase your acreage of an existing crop?

Opportunities we have experienced in our fruit production efforts:

  1. Continued demand for blueberries, particularly mid and late season varieties.
  2. Greater interest in raspberries, especially primocane raspberries. The season requires control of SWD (Spotted Wing Drosophila) which is challenging.
  3. We have experienced continued demand for strawberries. In our market area, there is a void of day-neutral strawberries.

To summarize, all indications show there is increased demand for berries. Buyers are willing to pay for the increased value locally grown berries bring. As a result, there is opportunity to increase production and overall revenue generated from the small fruit portion of your business.

Contact us if you have any questions that we can assist you with as you think about this opportunity.



At this time of year, we see asparagus ferns changing color as they begin to enter dormancy. Be careful not to take this as a sign that it is time to cut your ferns!

As asparagus plants prepare for winter, they send sugars from the ferns down to the roots to store as energy for next year’s harvest. They won’t complete this process until the plants are fully dormant, and the stems are totally brown.

We recommend waiting to mow until you’ve had several freezes. Whether you choose late fall or early spring, be sure you aren’t compromising next year’s harvest by cutting too early!


The strawberry plant is made up of six basic parts: the root system, crown, trifoliate leaf, inflorescence (flower truss, fruit), stolon (runner), and the daughter strawberry plant. The crown of the strawberry plant is a shortened stem from which all leaves, inflorescences, stolons, and roots emerge.

During the growing season, the crown produces branch crowns (side stems) which add to the yield of the main crown. Having 2–3 branch crowns at the end of October is ideal for optimal yields during the first fruiting year. Planting time is essential for achieving desired branch crown numbers. Planting too soon in plasticulture can lead to excess growth, which decreases berry size and quality.

Renovation is a key practice in crown management in strawberry production. The removal of old leaves and flower trusses should be done shortly after the completion of harvest. This timely practice allows for better control of pests, elimination of some foliar pathogens, and in matted row allows for runner establishment. If renovation is not completed prior to early August, it should not be done as late removal will negatively impact fruit bud induction, and therefore yield. For matted-row growers that miss renovation, be sure to manage bed width and plant density to maximize crop potential.

Runner management varies by production method but in matted-row and plasticulture proper management can greatly affect yield. Runners act as an energy sink on mothers in plasticulture and any day neutral production. For matted row growers, daughter plants are necessary to fill rows, but allowing excess plants to set causes competition, limiting branch crown development, increasing fungal pressure and decreasing picking efficacy. We recommend selecting the first 2–3 daughters per mother plant to allow about 5”–8” between plants. 


Why are soil pH levels so important for all small fruit crops and asparagus? Not only can soil pH levels impact the availability and uptake of mineral nutrients but crops like asparagus and blueberries have very specific pH needs. 

Asparagus performs best at an alkaline pH of 7.2 or higher; blueberries require a very acidic pH in the 4.5 – 4.8 range. For strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, we recommend a relatively neutral pH of 6.5 – 6.8.  The chart on page 5 outlines nutrients essential for plant growth and how their availability is affected by soil pH. An autumn soil test is a key way to evaluate not only nutritional levels in soil, but also pH and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC).  CEC is important as it will measure the ability of a soil to absorb calcium (Ca), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) ions (among others) and its resistance to change of pH in response to liming and sulfur additions. Clays and soils high in organic matter have a high CEC, whereas sands have a low CEC.  Silt loam and clay loam soils are more difficult to impact pH due the soil structure and its particle size.


The application of straw mulch is a time-tested process for protecting strawberry plants from winter injury.   It can be an expensive practice, but the cost of winter damage and subsequent crop loss is typically more.  It is difficult to say how many bales should be applied because straw spreads and covers differently depending on how it is processed.  We suggest applying enough straw, so the plants are well covered before and after the first rain after application.

Double check that once the straw settles, the entire plant is still well covered.  Since we never know how cold our winter is going to be, it’s worth the extra effort to have the plants protected.

A question that often comes up is “When is it safe to apply the straw?”. The answer is after the plants have experienced 400 hours of chill.

Chill accumulates when temperatures are between 45- and 32-degrees F. The foliage can still be green, but plants can be dormant.  Keeping track of temperatures daily, is the sure way to determine when it is safe. Spreading the straw too early can damage the plants so ensuring adequate dormancy is very important.


Posted in: Asparagus Production, Bramble Production, Newsletter, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[New Primocane Blackberry Variety!]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postnew-primocane-blackberry-variety https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postnew-primocane-blackberry-variety Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT Prime Ark Horizon is the newest release from Dr. John Clark’s University of Arkansas breeding program.


Prominent Characteristics:

  1. Thorny, similar to P.A. 45
  2. High floricane crop potential
  3. Large berries with larger fruit size potential
  4. Very Firm, holds very well in storage
  5. Fruits a few days later than P.A. 45
  6. Flavor rated good
  7. Winter hardiness compararable to Ouachita
  8. Vigorous plant with long fruiting laterals


We have a good inventory of plants available at this time for your planting trials.


Posted in: Bramble Production, Newsletter

<![CDATA[Strawberry Plug Plants]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/poststrawberry-plug-plants https://www.noursefarms.com/news/poststrawberry-plug-plants Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT We’ve responded to our customers’ increasing need and desire for strawberry plug plants, by formulating a system in 2020 to make strawberry plug plants available. With positive feedback from our customers and continuing demand, we’ll be increasing our production of strawberry plug plants in 2022.

The Nourse Farms Strawberry Plug Plant System

In our production system, we use best practices to produce the most disease-free plugs that technology has provided to us. Our strawberry mother plants are greenhouse-grown in a substrate system for effective disease management. The tips from these plants are then planted into 50-cell plug plant trays and, with a misting irrigation system in place, grown into finished plug plants.

Why Use Strawberry Plug Plants?

An option for plasticulture growers, strawberry plug plants:

  • are planted in the late summer to be fruited the following spring; and
  • can be planted into plastic using a mechanical transplanter rather than by hand.

What Nourse Farms has Available for 2022

For the 2022 planting season, Nourse Farms is offering six varieties to our customers:
Galletta, an early-season variety that has excellent flavor, holds size through the season, and has good disease resistance. Galletta also performs well in heavier soils.
Yambu, an early mid-season variety that is highly vigorous, high yielding and has excellent flavor. 
Darselect, a mid-season, highly productive variety exclusive to Nourse Farms with large and sweet berries and holds its size.
Flavorfest, a highly demanded mid-season variety with first-rate vigor and flavor as well as showing tolerance to anthracnose crown and fruit rot.
Cabot, a late mid-season variety known for is huge berries, excellent flavor, winter hardiness, and disease resistance.
AC Valley Sunset, a top-choice late-season variety exclusive to Nourse Farms in the U.S. known for large, very good flavored berries for late season production.


These plants can be purchased in cases of 250 per variety, and will ship mid-August through mid-September. Minimum Order Quantity of 4000 plugs. Base prices start at $.50/plant ($127 case) + royalty. Quantity discounts are available. Due to cost & transit times, shipping is limited to east of the Mississippi River. Place your order by contacting us at 413-665-2658 or info@noursefarms.com. Please contact us for more details.

Posted in: Newsletter, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Blackberry Cultivation in Northern Climates]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postblackberry-cultivation-in-northern-climates https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postblackberry-cultivation-in-northern-climates Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:00:00 GMT Red and black raspberry production is common in the north, but blackberry production is almost non-existent as they have long been considered too tender for northern commercial production. With the development of the Rotating Cross-Arm Trellis, we can capture this lost market.

Primocane-fruiting blackberry varieties have been released in recent years which offer an opportunity to add to fall sales, but the question most growers ask is: “Is it worth it?”

Most commercial blackberry varieties are rated cold hardy to zone 6 or even 5, however this can be a misrepresentation. Cold hardiness refers to crown survival rather than bud survival. Buds higher on canes are more susceptible to damage. This greatly affects yields and picking heights, as berries produced on unprotected plants are typically on low buds, making picking difficult.

The Rotating Cross-Arm trellis (RCA) is a modified V-trellis with one long and one short trellis arm, and removable pins to permit post rotation. This allows growers to change the architecture of the plant, and to lay canes close to ground level and cover with a heavy row cover - significantly increasing winter protection.

On the RCA, primocanes are grown horizontally along a low wire, 16” high. When canes reach the next plant, they are tipped, and leaves are removed to encourage lateral bud break. Prior to floricane removal, primocane laterals are draped untethered over the wire on the short trellis arm. After removal, laterals are trained vertically to wires along the long trellis arm and primocanes are shifted from under the short trellis arm to under the long trellis arm. This pruning and training technique not only allows for trellis arms to be laid down and covered for winter but when placed parallel to the ground prior to flowering it forces most flowers to one side of the trellis, increasing picking efficacy and decreasing sunscald. This works best when the RCA is oriented East West.

Multiple primocane blackberry varieties have been released from the University of Arkansas, beginning in 2004. Like raspberries, primocane fruiting blackberry canes emerge in spring, fruit in the fall and can be mowed after fall harvest however yields are considerably lower than their floricane counterparts. Different heights and numbers of soft pinching have been tested to increase yields, however in colder climates the season is too short for this technique to be successful. Unfortunately, northern growers have found that these plants fruit too late leaving much of the crop unharvested. High tunnels can extend the picking season however it is unlikely that increased yields or higher berry prices would justify this cost.

Posted in: Bramble Production, Newsletter

<![CDATA[Early Pay Discount!]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/posttake-advantage-of-our-early-pay-discount https://www.noursefarms.com/news/posttake-advantage-of-our-early-pay-discount Thu, 14 Oct 2021 00:00:00 GMT Take advantage of our Early Pay Discount!

Orders $500 and over that are paid by 12/1/2021 receive a discount of 3%.

Orders $500 and over that are paid by 1/15/2022 receive a discount of 2%.



Posted in: News

<![CDATA[Nourse Farms Contributes to Horticulture Program]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postnourse-farms-contributes-to-horticulture-program https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postnourse-farms-contributes-to-horticulture-program Mon, 07 Jun 2021 00:00:00 GMT Nourse Farms believes that being a part of the community is essential. Each year, we donate to community nonprofit organizations that align with our mission and values. One such organization is the Horticulture and Aquaculture Program at Garnet Valley Middle School, located in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. 

Michael (Mike) Krautzel, a 22-year education veteran who started his career teaching health and physical education, is the dynamo behind this program. About six years ago, Mr. Krautzel asked if he could help the school spruce up a courtyard. A gardening enthusiast, he saw great potential in the courtyard and wanted to bring it to life for the students, faculty, and staff. 

Soon enough, Mr. Krautzel was not alone in his efforts. During study hall and lunch, students would get outside, get their hands in the soil, and learn about gardening while they worked on the space. 

In fact, there was so much interest from the students—more than half of the students in the building were helping—that the school decided to put a class on the schedule addressing the topic. Taking into consideration that Mr. Krautzel is not only a gardening guru but also a fish aficionado who enjoys tending to the school’s tanks, the Horticulture and Aquaculture Program for grades 6–8 at Garnet Valley Middle School was born.  Students tending to plants

Nourse Farms whole-heartedly supports the idea of teaching children horticultural practices and the benefits of growing their own food, which is why we have been happily contributing raspberry plants to the middle school’s program for a few years. We applaud Mr. Krautzel for his dedication and vision for the program and consider ourselves lucky to be a part of his efforts. 

Mr. Krautzel’s enthusiasm for the program—and his students—is clear and nothing short of inspiring. Living just a couple of streets away from Garnet Valley Middle School, Mr. Krautzel has seven children in the school system, coaches many school and town athletic teams, and even joins his students for lunch daily. He has a real connection with his hometown and the people in it, which is why he’s so passionate about teaching skills that go far beyond growing plants.  

“Yes, they’re learning about planning, planting, and weeding,” Mr. Krautzel said. “But when we receive recognition for the work we’re doing in this program, it’s the students who accept the awards and give the thank you speeches, not me. They’re learning how to look people in the eye, shake hands, talk publicly, say please and thank you. They’re learning life skills.” 

His program is so successful that he’s bringing it to the high school for the 2021–22 school year. Thirty-five students are already signed up to participate and they’ve chosen their project: a berry garden. Nourse Farms is proud to be providing them with raspberry plants to get them started. 

And Mr. Krautzel’s ambitions don’t stop there. He also hopes to get the program into grades 3-5 in the future.

“This is so much fun,” said Mr. Krautzel. “Some people dread going to work—I run out the door!”

We encourage you to check out Garnet Valley Middle School’s Horticulture and Aquaculture Program Facebook page to find out more about what Mr. Krautzel and his students are up to. 

You can also read this great article published by The Delaware County Daily Times


Posted in: News

<![CDATA[Nourse Farms General Manager Retires]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgm-annette-retires https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgm-annette-retires Fri, 07 May 2021 00:00:00 GMT It is with mixed emotions that we announce Nourse Farms longtime General Manager, Annette Tirrell, is retiring Friday, May 7, 2021.

Annette has been an integral part of Nourse Farms for 40 years. There's a saying around the office here at Nourse Farms: "If you need to know something, ask Annette." Annette has helped us build the business from the ground up. During her tenure, she worked tirelessly to ensure that the sales, production, order entry and fulfillment, and administration departments worked collaboratively toward organizational goals. Her impressive contributions included tracking stock inventory, forecasting, order processing, invoicing, managing accounts receivable, managing licenses and royalty payments, ensuring products are prepared properly for customers, and managing personnel. Her work, commitment, and dedication are admirable and will truly be missed. 

She will be missed greatly by all, but we're thrilled for her as she gets to explore all that retirement has to offer. 

Thank you for everything, Annette. You're "berry" special and we're so lucky and honored to have had you as a part of the team for 40 years.

Posted in: News

<![CDATA[Do This, Not That: Nourse Farms Plant Edition]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postdo-this-not-that https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postdo-this-not-that Fri, 16 Apr 2021 00:00:00 GMT Common planting mistakes happen to the best of us. The Nourse Farms team put together the following information to help.


For All Nourse Farms Plants

Do this: When planning where you’ll be planting, consider how much space you’ll need to get necessary equipment to and around your plantings as well as allow for good light penetration and air circulation. 
Not that: Plant your plants so close together that you cannot get necessary equipment through to care for your plants or they shade each other or restrict air movement. This can cause fungal infections.

Do this: Read our Planting and Success Guide for specific ideal plant depth and orientation planting information.
Not that: Plant roots too deep, too shallow, or in the wrong direction. Your plants will fail to flourish, and we don’t want that to happen!

Do this: Cultivate or work soil 2 or more weeks prior to planting and firmly pack soil around plant roots.
Not that: Work just prior to planting and/or leave soil loose around plant roots. Soil will settle, which can leave roots exposed causing plants to fail.

Do this: Give plants their own space away from wild plants or plants with unknown origin.
Not that: Plant near wild plants or near plants with unknown origins. Wild plants often harbor pest or diseases which can readily infect your new plants.

Do this: Water your plants 1–3 times per week.
Not that: Water your plants daily. Our plants do not like having “wet feet.”

Do this: Avoid fertilizer burn by waiting until plants are established before applying conventional fertilizer (roughly 4–6 weeks after planting).*
Not that: Fertilize your plants before they’re established.

Do this: Provide your plants with balanced nutrition. We recommend 10-10-10 or an equivalent “complete” or “balanced” fertilizer formulation for all of our plants with the exception of our blueberry plants, which need ammonium sulfate or acid-loving plant fertilizer.
Not that: Forget your plants need a balanced diet, too! 

Do this: Plant all of the roots that Nourse Farms sends to you.
Not that: Cut the roots of your plant. This will decrease the support for new growth. 

Do this: Plant your plants in areas where they’ll have at least half day of full sun for the healthiest plants and to help ripen your berries.
Not that: Plant in shady locations.

Do this: Plant in soils that have not had crops that included strawberries, brambles, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers within previous 2-3 years.
Not that: Plant in soils where previous crops have included strawberries, brambles, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers. These crops can harbor soil pathogens which may harm your new plants.

Do this: Remove dropped and over-ripe fruit to reduce pest and disease pressure. 
Not that: Leave dropped or over-ripe fruit.

*Espoma Bio-Tone Starter fertilizer may be used at time of planting as it is designed not to burn plants if used as directed. 


We have some plant-specific tips for you, too, because every plant is different and requires different care to reach their full potential. 


Strawberry PlantsStrawberries

Do this: Use plastic, fabric, or straw mulch. 
Not that: Mulch using materials like decayed or wet leaves that tend to mat and can smother plants or wood chips that can be too heavy and hold excess moisture. 

Do this: Use day-neutral plantings as an annual plant. If you would like to get a second harvest, you can overwinter, though berry size can decrease. 
Not that: Renovate day-neutral strawberries.

Bramble Plants

Do this: Read our Planting and Success Guide for specific ideal plant depth and orientation planting information.
BlackberriesNot that: Do not plant the roots too deeply or in wrong direction.

Do this: You may mulch lightly with clean straw during the planting year but, beware, new growth must be able to develop easily from the roots! 
Not that: Mulch brambles beyond the first year. Find out more here.

Do this: Prune out the floricanes, which bore fruit during that growing season, once harvest is complete.
Not that: Mow summer-bearing raspberries; they fruit on 2-year-old (over-wintered) canes. 


Do this: Make sure you cut or snap stalks close to the soil surface, not leaving stubs, which could be potential entry points for pests and diseases.  
AsparagusNot that: Damage emerging spears when cutting below the soil surface during harvest.

Do this: Plant in sweet soil. Asparagus requires a soil pH at a 7.2 or higher. 
Not that: Plant in acidic soil. 

Do this: Use compost as an amendment, mixing it thoroughly with soil, as you backfill your trench. 
Not that: Mix compost with the soil before plants grow. 

Do this: Do not soak prior to planting.
Not that: Soak prior to planting

Blueberry Plants

Do this: Plant in acidic soil. Blueberries require a soil pH between 4.5–4.8. A pH of 5.0 or higher is too high! Often, soil must be acidified; amend with elemental sulfur the year prior to planting.
Not that: Plant in unprepared or basic soil. Too high of a soil pH can cause stunting and decrease in productivity, sometimes permanently. Blueberries
BONUS Do this: Do a soil test and apply the proper amount of sulfur. Don’t guess. Excessive sulfur can be toxic! We recommend testing your soil one full year prior to planting. See details here.

Do this: Use elemental sulfur to acidify the soil.
Not that: Apply aluminum sulfate for fertilizing or acidifying. 

Do this: Use ammonium sulfate or acid-loving plant fertilizer to fertilize.
Not that: Apply fertilizer close to your planting date. Blueberries can be adversely affected by potassium chloride. Do not use fertilizer that contains it. We do not recommend aluminum sulfate for fertilizing or acidifying. 

Do this: Use aged wood chips as mulch.
Not that: Use leaves or sawdust as mulch. Either can limit or prevent rains from reaching the soil and plant roots. Also avoid fresh wood chips as they can remove nitrogen from the soil.

Our Planting and Success Guide includes this helpful information, and so much more. Access it online or let us know you want a hardcopy mailed to you. 

Posted in: News

<![CDATA[Removing Straw From Your Strawberry Planting]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postremoving-straw-from-your-strawberry-planting https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postremoving-straw-from-your-strawberry-planting Fri, 02 Apr 2021 00:00:00 GMT Each spring can be very different, and with weather and temperatures being increasingly erratic and unpredictable, there is just no way to give a specific date for removing the straw mulch you put on your strawberries for winter protection.  

The goal is to leave the mulch on the plants as long as possible to lower the risk of crop damage by the return of cold temperatures, while not waiting so long that plants begin to grow under the straw. We recommend checking under your straw once soil temperatures reach 40°F. You also want to consider the weather forecast when removing the straw mulch. It is best to check multiple locations towards the middle of your patch where the straw is thickest. Note: be careful not to leave the straw on too long, as this can harm the plants.

Raking straw

When you see new foliage growth, the plants are responding to warmer temperatures and the straw can be removed, however, it may be left on if freezing temperatures are in the forecast. If the foliage appears yellow-white, this is because the plants are trying to grow in the absence of sunlight and the straw should come off immediately to expose the plants to sun and allow air circulation. Be mindful of your extended forecast and be prepared with frost protection, like a floating row cover.

Early removal of straw mulch can allow earlier fruit development, but early growth will also require more attention to temperature and frost protection because flower buds lose hardiness as they develop. You’ll need to set up protection for your plants when temperatures drop. 

One option for this is to rake the straw between rows or off to the side (depending on the number of plants you have) so that if there is threat of frost, you can easily rake it back over the strawberry plants. You could also employ a row cover, or frost blankets. For larger growers, overhead irrigation can be a good option for frost protection. 

Early ripening varieties flower early. The earliest blossoms develop the largest berries if not damaged by cold temperatures. 

While it is important to remove the straw over the plants, allowing for light penetration and air circulation, it is also important to maintain straw coverage on the row/beneath the plants/surrounding the plants. Leaving a straw layer beneath the plants serves multiple purposes, water retention, weed suppression, keeping roots cooler in the summer. Straw mulch also helps to keep your berries clean by preventing soil contact. It can also prevent fungus and other pathogens from splashing up onto your plants and strawberries when it rains or if you use overhead irrigation. Note: Irrigation at ground level is a healthier option for strawberry plants than overhead irrigation. 

We created this handy little reference chart to help you recognize the difference between frosts and freezes. 

 Remember, Nourse Farms is here for you every step of the way. If you have any questions about straw removal, just give us a call at 413-665-2658 or email us at info@noursefarms.com


Posted in: News, Strawberry Production

<![CDATA[Rhubarb—an easy-to-grow addition to your garden]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postrhubarban-easy-to-grow-addition-to-your-garden https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postrhubarban-easy-to-grow-addition-to-your-garden Wed, 10 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT

What is it?

Rhubarb is easy to grow and makes a wonderful addition to strawberry pie and as the base for many jellies, desserts, sauces, and condiments. 

This plant needs cold winter in order to flourish, so the rhubarb crowns we carry at Nourse Farms do well in Zones 4–8.


Important fact

The only edible portion of the rhubarb plant is its stalks. Do not eat the leaves—they are poisonous. Remove at harvest and discard.


Health benefits

Rhubarb is reportedly a good source of vitamin K1, fiber, and antioxidants. 


Grow your own


Recommended Soil pH: 6.0–6.8

Recommended In-Row Spacing: 3’

Recommended Between Row Spacing: 5–6’



Do not fertilize close to planting time or during the first season. Plant in the early spring, in well-prepared, weed-free soil. To increase organic matter, work 2–3” of aged compost into the top 6–8” of soil well in advance of planting. Good drainage is absolutely necessary. If you have heavy or slowly draining soil, you must plant rhubarb in raised beds. Set divisions in the ground so the buds are positioned ½” below the soil surface, pointing up. You will find the buds nestled in a protective layer of dark papery husks. When planting, be sure there are no air pockets beneath the division and press the soil firmly around and over the division to eliminate air pockets. Be careful not to break the buds. 



Fertilizer requirements are best determined by a soil test, but a general recommendation is to add an inch or so of well-aged compost early each spring or 1–1.5 lb. 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. It would be best to divide that amount of fertilizer into two to three applications during the spring and summer with the first application before new growth starts. Do not fertilize after July 1, late fertilization generates tender new growth which will be more susceptible to winter injury. Check your pH and fertility every two to three years. 



Do not harvest rhubarb the first year. Harvest lightly (a few stalks per plant) the second year. The third year, you may harvest stalks that are 1” and larger in diameter for a period of six to eight weeks. As stems get shorter and thinner, stop harvesting for the season. Leave remaining stalks to make food for the crown and next year’s production. Harvest by holding the stalk near the base and use a pulling and twisting motion to snap the stalk at the base. You may use a sharp knife to cut stalks. Cut as close to the base as possible without damaging the crown. Remove the leaf and the base of the stalk before storing. Remember: Do not eat the leaves as they are poisonous. Only harvest about 1/3–1/2 of the stalks at one time for each plant. Though some harvesting in the fall is acceptable, rhubarb is typically harvested from early May to early June. 



Seed stalks that develop should be snapped off immediately. To maintain stalk size and productivity, divide plants after four to five years. Dig when plants are dormant, in early spring and take care not to damage the buds while cutting or replanting. Divide the roots of the most vigorous plants into pieces about 2” wide, being sure each piece has good bud development. Use these to establish your new bed. Follow the planting instructions above. 


Order your rhubarb crowns from Nourse Farms today. 

Posted in: News

<![CDATA[Greetings from Whately]]> https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately https://www.noursefarms.com/news/postgreetings-from-whately Wed, 03 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT

Welcome to our Spring 2021 Newsletter.

We’ve included timely topics to assist you in the coming season. With tremendous berry crop interest this year, we are currently sold out of more items than in previous years. Be sure to check the list on the back cover.


2021 Opportunities

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, it is essential to adjust to your customers’ needs. It requires flexibility but provides opportunityfor sales growth. Keep an open mind and listen to your customers!

2021 Expanded Plug Plant Production

Last fall, we announced our increased strawberry plug plant production for the 2021 season. We are focused on top-quality plugs and look forward to your response. Read more inside!

Upcoming Shipping Season

We are preparing to ship your plants. On-time delivery is important, so keep us informed of your planting situation. Together, we will be successful.

Thank you for your continued business and wishing you the best for the 2021 season.

- Tim Nourse

Posted in: Newsletter, Newsletter Greeting