October 1, 1998
Compiled by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
(802) 257-7967 verng@sover.net

Members of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association could receive the magazines 'American Vegetable Grower' and 'American Fruit Grower' as a membership benefit. I called Meister Publishing and inquired about the possibility. All I have to do is send a letter requesting the free subscriptions, along with a copy of our membership list. It seems to me like a fairly harmless thing to do. However, I think in the minds of many these magazines are little more than a mouth piece of the major chemical companies, and some growers might be offended, even alienated should the publications arrive unsolicited in the name of our Growers Association. While there certainly are many ads for chemicals, I have watched with particular interest over the last several years the increase in the number of articles on IPM and alternatives to chemical controls. I think that regardless of its slant pro or con chemicals that these publications are a valuable window on mainstream vegetable and fruit production for anyone in the business.

It is my impression that the addition of Agriview to the list of membership entitlement has enhanced the appeal of being a member of the association. A number of people have commented that they might as well join now that the Agriview comes with membership. I know that many growers already subscribe to American Vegetable or Fruit Grower, so getting it for free would be appealing. Please let Hank (453-4591), Vern or Jon Turmel (828-2431) know what you think of this idea. Unless we hear objections, it seems the Association should go ahead with this.

Cabbage worm moths making a comeback due to high temperatures, need another Bt spray. Weekly showers have helped keep crops from drying out from heat. Sweet corn, cucumber and green bean plantings that shouldn't have matured are being harvested, wishing we had planted another round. Last of the squash, gourds and pumpkins being pulled from the fields this week before the cold weather arrives. Strong sales for the "doldrums" of September thanks to warm weather. New fall greenhouse tomatoes ripening, transplanting pansies for overwintering, last call for vetch with the rye. (Dummerston)

We've been up to our ears in harvesting, and I've overlooked a spraying here and there. Big mistake. Both the tomatoes and the carrots, where I had their respective blights at bay, have succumbed to leaf diseases. The tomatoes are now completely gone, though they held out much longer than on other farms. The carrots are starting to show considerable signs of Alternaria, but I think that the resistant varieties will hold their foliage enough to get the crop off. Quite frankly, I'm ready for a little serious cool weather which it looks like we will have had by time this comes to publication. (Starksboro)

Still no frost, longest growing season ever. Squash is all in but size is down probably due to too much rain early on that leached manure fertility away and I didn't sidedress. Potatoes are huge although getting hollow heart in the golds because of all the water. Fall root crops look good, harvesting beets and carrots, tops still look strong because I put a lot of fertility on, the 3 sidedressings helped, but perhaps too much nitrogen on the carrots, causing a little hairiness on the roots. Great cabbage year, seeing plenty of cabbage looper now, controlling with Bt. Late cabbage OK but early cabbage damaged because rain prevented timely application. (E. Hardwick)

Fall harvest in full swing. The winter squash is late due to re?planting rotted seeds in mid June. The crop is medium size and thanks to mild September we haven't had frost to deal with yet. The peppers and eggplants are as big and plentiful as we've ever had. Cabbage worm and cabbage looper seem to be declining as cauliflower and cabbage are seeming to bounce back from the brink of disaster. We are in a mini?drought without significant moisture since July. Still irrigating our fall spinach, greens, and even some beets and celery in dry fields. Cover cropping is half finished with all of the early areas planted down to oats and vetch. We plan to finish the job in two weeks with rye on remaining fields. Flea beetle activity higher this year in the fall than
ever seen. Need to keep greens covered or else no crop at all. Potatoes still without scab and enjoying this dry time for harvesting good clean spuds. CSA shareholders eating more now that fall has come, kids are in school, and people cooking at home more. (Amherst, MA)

The Regional Farm and Food Project is hosting a series of winter workshops in Albany, NY, starting with "Diversified Vegetable Production and Management for Small and Large?Scale Organic Farmers" on Dec. 5 and 6. Featured presenters are Dan Kaplan of Brookfield Farm, Michael Docter and Linda Hildebrand of Food Bank Farm, and Paul Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm. Through slides and discussions, these experienced, successful organic farmers will explain their systems of efficiency from a whole?farm perspective: how they maintain soil fertility, control weeds, harvest efficiently, use season extension, plan for the upcoming season, find farm labor and market their produce. This workshop will walk you through the steps to making organic vegetable farming a profitable, manageable, full?time career.

"Biological Principles of Organic Agriculture", a theory?based workshop will be held on January 16 and 17, 1999. Instructors include Anne and Eric Nordell of Beech Grove Farm in Trout Run, PA, well?known systems thinkers who farm with horses; Gunther Hauk, Program Director of the Pfeiffer Center and renowned biodynamic thinker and educator; and Jean?Paul Courtens, successful large?scale biodynamic CSA grower of Roxbury Farm in Hudson, NY. Designed for those interested in a theoretical, systems?oriented approach to organic farming, this workshop will focus on healthy soil and whole farm systems, including soil science, crop rotations, cover crops, and biodynamic theory.

On Saturday, Feb. 20, 1999 "Creating Successful Grower Marketing Cooperatives" will be an interactive program on the benefits and challenges of cooperative marketing. This workshop will provide a forum for farmer?organizers and managers from organic growers coops to gather to share ideas, compare experiences and analyze trends. The coops represented at this workshop will include Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (Hustontown, PA), Happy Valley Organics (Whately, MA), Deep Root Organic Truck Farmers Cooperative (Westminster, VT), Hancock County Organic Growers Coop (Brooklyn, ME), Finger Lakes Organic Growers Cooperative (Ithaca, NY), Berkshire Growers Coop (South Lee, MA) and Garden State Organic Growers (Barnegat, NJ). Michael Rozyne of Red Tomato and Brian Henehan of Cornell University's Cooperative Enterprise Program will also share expertise on marketing organizations.

Space is limited, so please make your reservation early. These reasonably priced workshops will include meals and a limited number of accommodations in private homes will be available for a small fee. To receive a brochure and registration information, contact the Regional Farm and Food Project at 27 Elm St., Albany, NY 12202. (518) 426?933