Organic & Small-Farm Presentations at Winter Vegetable Conference-Asheville

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tomatoes and green peppers displayed in baskets

1/23/2024 – The Winter Vegetable Conference held at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville every year is a long-running event sponsored by the NC Tomato Growers Association with program development and management by NC Extension. The event has satisfied the educational needs of the large-scale, wholesale oriented, mostly conventional farms in WNC. Very few small to mid-sized, direct market oriented, and organic/regenerative/biodynamic/naturally grown farmers attend. SOOOO, for February 2024, we have added a new track on the first day of the conference specifically for this group of farmers. In addition to the presentations, I think the large tradeshow and networking opportunities will be of interest. Program details below and here is the link to the Eventbrite page (Registration is $75)

Wednesday afternoon presentations in this new track include:
1. Crowdbreeding Dwarf Tomatoes: A Novel Collaborative Breeding Approach-Craig LeHoullier, Amateur Tomato Breeder and Author of Epic Tomatoes
2. Farmer Panel on Wholesale Organic Tomato Production: Steve Beltram, TendWell Farm and Clem Swift, Clem’s Organic Gardens
3. Making the Most Out of Your High Tunnel with Double Cropping, Succession Planting, Crop Selection, and Rotation- Rachel Rudolph, Extension Vegetable Specialist, University of Kentucky
4. Adding Cut Flowers to Your Crop Mix- Vanessa Campbell, Full Sun Farm
5. Farm to Market: A Workshop for Budding Farmers Market Vendors-Hannah Dankbar, Local Food Program Manager, NC State Extension
6. Producing Seeds for Regional Seed Companies-Chris Smith, Utopian Seed Project
7. Cover Cropping in Vegetable Production Systems – Rachel Rudolph, Extension Vegetable Specialist, University of Kentucky
8. Insect management in brassica’s and best practices for Bt’s –  Jim Walgenbach, NC State University
On Thursday morning, there is only one big track, but there are some presentations there that might also be of interest:
1. Grower Spotlight: William Shelton, Shelton Farms
2. New Horticulture Vegetable Specialist at NC State (surprise!)
3. “Variety Showcase” – Seed companies highlighting their newest varieties, moderated by Jeanine Davis, NC State
4. Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation on Tomatoes- Andres Sanabria, NC State
5. Getting Started in Wholesale: Tips and Tricks for Finding Larger Markets-Hannah Dankbar, Local Food Program Manager, NC State
6. Thrips on Tomato- Jim Walgenbach and Scott Lee
7. Food Traceability Rule-Elena Rogers, NC Extension
8. Using Drones and New Technologies for Precision Weed Control-Vijay Singh, Virginia Tech
Followed by the Tomato Growers Association Sponsored Luncheon