Fruit growers, enthusiasts conference to begin Oct. 31 in New Braunfels

COLLEGE STATION — New growers, commercial producers, home gardeners and fruit enthusiasts in general are encouraged to attend the fifth annual Texas Fruit Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in New Braunfels.

The event, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will begin at 1 p.m. Oct. 31 at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center.

Online registration at $80 per person is available until Oct. 21 at http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/horticulture/. On-site registration is $95 per person.

“We have a great educational program that includes 14 different presenters. Topics encompass fruit production, marketing, disease and insect management, new crops, new varieties, grower experiences and an ‘ask the expert’ panel discussion,” said Monte Nesbitt, AgriLife Extension horticulture specialist in College Station.

The first session talks, aimed at new growers, will include: History of Commercial Fruit Growing in Texas by Dr. George Ray McEachern, visiting professor of horticulture at Texas A&M University; Keys to Successful Small Acreage Fruit Growing by Jim Kamas, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Fredericksburg; Successful Outcomes in Farmers Markets by Laura Miller, AgriLife Extension, Tarrant County horticulture agent.

Also on the afternoon agenda Oct. 31 are Common Mistakes with Fruit Tree Fertilizer by Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde; and, Water Needs, Delivery and Conservation for Fruit Trees by Nesbitt.

A welcome reception from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Courtyard New Braunfels River Village will conclude the day.

Blackberries growing in Texas, (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Blackberries growing in Texas, (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

All About Avocados by Stein will open the Nov. 1 sessions at 8:30 a.m. Other morning talks include The Oily Romance of Olives in Texas by Nesbitt; Table Grapes-Reality or Fantasy for Texas? by Kamas; Early Results of High Tunnel Blackberries by Dr. Russ Wallace, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Lubbock; Improving Stone Fruit Performance through Rootstock Selection by Dr. Tom Beckman, USDA-Agriculture Research Service scientist; Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Laboratory, Byron, Georgia; and Texas Cider—New Comeback for an Old World Fruit Product by Wes Mickel, Argus Cidery, Austin.

Following lunch, which is included in the registration, participants will hear Experiences in Starting a Fruit Orchard by Tim McCaskill, Austin Orchards; Stinkbugs and Leaffooted Bugs—Traditional and Organic Approaches to Control by Bill Ree, AgriLife Extension entomologist, College Station; Most-diagnosed Fruit Diseases in Texas by Dr. Kevin Ong, Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory director; Global Trends in Consumer Demand for Peaches and Other Stone Fruits by Dr. Dave Byrne, Texas A&M University horticulturist, College Station; Southeastern Medium-Chill Peaches for Consideration in Texas by Beckham; and Beyond the Fringe—Exotic, High-Value Fruit and their Potential for Success/Failure in Texas by Tim Hartmann, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, College Station.

The conference will conclude with a pomegranate update and tasting.

Hotel details and contact information can be found at:

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/satnb-courtyard-new-braunfels-river-village/

People or companies interested in being a sponsor or exhibitor should contact Laura Nelson, l.nelson@ag.tamu.edu, or Nesbitt, mlnesbitt@tamu.edu, for more information.

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