Vegetable production educational meeting set for Dec. 13
Oklahoma market garden growers, commercial farmers, agricultural supply businesses and gardeners who want to learn more about vegetable production should plan to attend the 2012 Oklahoma Vegetable Production and Marketing Educational Meeting.
The meeting will take place Dec. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Chickasha at the Grady County Fairgrounds. A $10 registration fee is required and it covers all meeting literature, lunch and refreshments. Registration deadline is Dec. 3. Mail checks payable to Grady County Extension to the Grady County Extension Office, 828 West Choctaw, Chickasha, OK 73018, or call 405-224-2216. Additional information is available from Brook Bradbury via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vegetable production continues to have a significant impact on the Oklahoma agricultural industry, said Jim Shrefler, area horticulture specialist for the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service. Increasing interest in local foods and farmers' markets means more opportunity for growers.
"Although this meeting in the past has focused more on cucurbit production, this year we're expanding the parameters to include other important vegetables as well," Shrefler said. "This meeting will include a blend of topics that should be of interest to anyone who wants to learn about the new marketing trends and opportunities, as well as gain knowledge about the growing techniques that will be needed to meet the demands of various markets."
Shrefler said farmers markets are just one type of outlet in which a grower could establish a niche by offering a selection of different and unique varieties of cucurbits and other vegetables. Other Oklahoma growers are discovering new ways to market a variety of types of produce through outlets such as CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or roadside stands. There has truly been a renewed interest in local produce markets on the part of both consumers and growers.
There are a number of specialists who will be on hand to share their expertise about the various aspects of vegetable production, including OSU; United States Department of Agriculture; Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; and Noble Foundation. A broad range of topics will include results of recent vegetable research, food safety, pest management, packing shed layouts and vegetable marketing.
"This event should be of interest and value to anyone who grows or markets pumpkins, melons, tomatoes and other vegetables," Shrefler said. "It's intended for all growers ranging from farmers market growers to commercial farm operators who produce vegetables. Meeting other growers is one additional benefit for those who attend."
For more information about the upcoming meeting, registration information or to receive a meeting flier, contact the Grady County Extension Office at 405-224-2216