Asparagus growers to gather in Grand Rapids on December 7, 2011

DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids, Mich., will host the 2011 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo.

Vegetable growers from all over North America will gather in Grand Rapids, Mich., for the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo on December 7-9, 2011. Attractions include a complete exhibit floor, social events and educational programs for a number of vegetable commodities including asparagus. The asparagus educational session is a two-hour program beginning at 9:00 a.m. and finishing up at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7.

Michigan State University (MSU) has one of the best asparagus research programs in the world and MSU specialists and their students represent the majority of the speakers for this year’s asparagus session. Topics for that program include a disease research update from MSU’s Mary Hausbeck, her post-doctoral assistant, Leah Granke, and her long-time technician, Brian Cortright. That subject will be followed by a presentation by Daniel Brainard and his graduate student, Ben Byl, from MSU’s Department of Horticulture on the asparagus irrigation research being supported by the Michigan asparagus industry and a state/federal grant.

Zsofia Szendrei of MSU’s Department of Entomology will then report on her research into the life cycle of the asparagus miner as well as other asparagus insect pests. Because the market for fresh asparagus is growing rapidly in Michigan, post-harvest handling issues have become increasingly important. In order to help growers improve these skills, Randy Beaudry, MSU’s post-harvest handling specialist, has been added to this year’s program.

The educational program will finish up with a “State of the Asparagus Industry”-type report from John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board.

Growers should visit the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo website at for details about registration, lodging, the exhibit floor and other educational programs available during the show.

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