State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania

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Convention Information

2017 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention

January 31 to February 2

Hershey Lodge and Convention Center

The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention has become the premier grower meeting in the Northeast combining three days of six or more concurrent educational sessions with a large industry trade show and numerous networking opportunities – all designed to enable fruit, vegetable and berry growers as well as direct marketers to stay on the cutting edge of their industries. About 2,200 persons from throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond gather each year at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center for the Convention.  Registration is open to all interested commercial fruit, vegetable and berry growers, direct marketers and allied industry personnel.  Fruit growers should register here:

For information on exhibiting at the Convention, contact Maureen Irvin, Convention Coordinator at 717-677-4184 or

The Hershey Lodge and Convention Center is located at 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA  17033.

Future dates for the Mid-Atlantic Convention are January 30 to February 1, 2018, January 29 to 31, 2019, and January 28 to 30, 2020.

Highlights of the 2017 Tree Fruit Program

by Rob Crassweller

The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference is just around the corner. Our key out of state speakers will be Phil Schwallier from Michigan State and Guido Schnabel from Clemson.

Phil Schwallier will present the George Goodling lecture on Tuesday, January 31st. He will discuss his work using ReTain to extend harvest of Honeycrisp to later in the season. The next day he will talk about Michigan’s Precision Crop Load Management System for apples. Many of you know Phil through the International Fruit Tree Association or from attending the Great Lakes Expo. For those of you that do not, he is a 5th generation orchardist and has been a tree fruit extension agent at Michigan State University for 36 years covering the “Ridge” area of the state. He brings a lot of practical experience to the program.

Guido Schnabel from Clemson University. He has over 20 years of experience working in both research and extension with pathogens of fruit  crops. He implemented a decision support system as an app for a smartphone, MyIPM,  to provide critical disease diagnostics and management information. This will be the subject of the Ernie Christ lecture on Wednesday afternoon. Kari Peter has been working with him to extend this app into new tree fruits. His second presentation will be on management of preharvest and postharvest rots in peaches. This was a serious problem this past year in the mid-Atlantic region for some growers.

The convention will kick off with the 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Cider Contest with judging held on Tuesday of the first day. Over the course of the tree fruit program there will be 11 category and 4 core pesticide credits offered. As in the past there will be a keynote speaker Tuesday morning. The joint annual banquet will be held Tuesday night with the Apple Grower Reception to be held on Wednesday.

While most fruit growers have been in the business for many years, we have in recent years tried to provide “refresher” topics or topics that fruit growers have perhaps forgotten about. These appear in the Horticulture 101 session on Thursday. One talk will be on the factors behind fruit color development. The second will be on spring frost, how it occurs and what tools are available for growers to combat it.

There will also a full day session on Wednesday on wine grapes and a Wednesday session for Hispanic/Latino workers conducted in Spanish.

I look forward to seeing everyone as we begin the winter meeting season. Our regional fruit schools will begin in February and run through the beginning of March. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with good travel weather for the meeting in Hershey and for the meetings around the state.