Berry growers pick EMU to host conference, Oct. 21-22

Are you a fan of blueberries or brambleberries?

Are you a current berry grower or are you interested in getting into the field?

If so, consider attending the Organic and Sustainable Berry Growers Conference planned for Oct. 21 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Suter Science Center at East Mennonite University.

The conference aims to share information with berry growers regarding organic and sustainable production, specifically for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Proper techniques for organic growing, pest management, and assessing berry quality will also be discussed.

The day will be divided into four different parts, with several intermissions between, discussing four different main topics – each topic will be headlined by a series of speakers.

One of the panelists, Samuel L. Johnson of Hickory Hill Farms, says this conference is a perfect opportunity for berry growers or potential berry growers who are looking to get into the field.

“It would be wise to attend if you are considering growing berries,” says Johnson.

“You’ll have an idea what you are getting into and how to do it. You’ll also learn the pros and cons of entering the field.”

Berry growing provides a niche opportunity for small growers because the fruits are very perishable.

Berries tend to be ideal for people that are growing to sell to local markets – there is less handling and little long distance shipping, which means the product is fresher.

From 7:30 a.m. until noon Oct. 22, there will be an optional guided field trip to local blueberry and brambleberry farms.

Those interested in attending should register at

For additional information, or questions, contact EMU at 540-432-4325.

Courtesy Daily News Record, Oct. 9, 2013