Berry Growers of Ontario, a new umbrella group comprising strawberry, raspberry and blueberry growers, has elected its first chair: Tom Heeman. He’s from Heeman Berries, Thorndale, Ontario. He’s joined by vice-chair Brian Rijke, Dentz Orchard and Berry Farm, Iroquois, Ontario. Kevin Schooley has been reappointed secretary/treasurer.
The nine-member board consists of growers representing each berry commodity. For blueberries, they are: Steve Kustermans (three years); Dusty Zamecnik (two years); Kerry Copestake (1 year). For raspberries, they are: Tom Heeman, (three years); Morris Gervais (two years); Brian Rijke (one year). For strawberries, they are: Kevin Howe (three years); Graham Shaw (two years) and Matt Tigchelaar (one year).
Operating under the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, the group now has the authority to collect acreage fees and to pledge monies towards marketing, promotion, research and grower advocacy. One of the first tasks will be to set up a database of members who have a combined berry acreage of at least two bearing acres.
Most pressing on the agenda is an upcoming Raspberry Workshop to be held March 27 at the Springfield Golf and Country Club, Guelph, Ontario. The agenda is crafted for both established and new growers.
• Raspberry physiology 1.0 by Dr. Adam Dale, University of Guelph
• Raspberry production systems by Pam Fisher, Fisher Berry Crop Consulting
• Preparing your soil for raspberry production
• Crop nutrition to optimize yield
• Tips for pruning raspberries
• Key raspberry pests and how to manage them by Erica Pate, OMAFRA fruit specialist
• Considerations for choosing a variety
• What’s your market? by Kevin Schooley, Berry Growers of Ontario
Preregistration is $75 by calling 613-258-4587 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org%0D