High density sweet cherry tour set for March 30

An opportunity for growers interested in high density sweet cherry plantings, training systems, packing house tour and marketing discussion.

You are invited to a high density sweet cherry tour in the Grand Rapids area on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. This tour is arranged by the Michigan State University (MSU) cherry team in conjunction with area farmers and packers.

The tour will include three stops:

  1. Clarksville Research Station—New NC-140 planting including four new training strategies: super spindle axe, tall spindle axe, Kim Green Bush and the upright fruit wall system (UFO). MSU Horticulturalist Greg Lang will talk on these training systems used in different regions around the world.
  2. Northwest Grand Rapids—Tour two high density sweet cherry orchards with pruning demonstration.
  3. Tour of Riveridge’s new packing facility, followed by a discussion of the future of fresh market sweet cherries in Michigan.

Cost for the tour plus lunch is $10. The tour cost for northwest Michigan growers is $35 including lunch and the bus ride to the Grand Rapids area. Please call Jackie Baase (231-946-1510) at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Station by March 18 to make reservations to join the tour and to help us make plans for the lunch.

High Density Sweet Cherry Tour Agenda

10:00 AM
Arrive at Clarksville Horticultural Experimental Station
Welcome, Phil Schwallier, MSU Extension

10:00-11:30
NC-140 sweet cherry planting: four new training systems
Dr. Greg Lang, Department of Horticulture, MSU

11:30
Leave for Alpine Town Hall; Eat lunch en route

12:15-1:00 PM
Fresh market sweet cherry discussion* and lunch
Mike Dietrich:
fruit quality, consistency and market potential
Dr. Greg Lang:
fresh market sweet cherry research
Gary Bardenhagen:
support for fresh market sweet cherry research and cultivar evaluation

1:00-2:00
Tour and pruning demonstration of high density sweet cherry planting                                             
Joe Rasch, Joe Rasch Farms

2:00-3:00
Tour and pruning demonstration of high density sweet cherry planting
Riveridge Orchards
                          

3:00-3:45
Tour of Riveridge’s new packing house

*This tour and discussion is a result of the “Sweet Cherry Summit, held at the Northwest Michgian Research Station in fall 2008 to explore ways to expand the Michigan fresh market sweet cherry industry. Priorities established for the Michigan industry at that meeting were improving production efficiency (i.e., training systems, rootstocks and new varieties), developing best practices protocols for fresh market fruit, determining optimal post-harvest management for lengthening holding capacity and understanding the physiology of fruit cracking.

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