This week Kristina and I returned from the frozen and mysterious land of a place called Wisconsin. True, it's certainly close enough, but going to visit this part of the world during winter, and this week in particular, was an adventure.
Armed with the knowledge that the place we'd be going would have the "World's largest indoor water park," Kristina agreed to go along on the trip to the Wisconsin Berry Growers Conference in Wisconsin Dells. We made the trip there just fine but overnight a blizzard set in and by the next day we were hesitant to even leave the conference center for lunch. The sub-zero temperatures and the wind blowing the new snow around was bone-chilling.
Of all places to be "trapped" for a few days, this was probably the best place we could have asked for to be honest. The three day conference was packed with useful seminars and opportunities to meet other berry growers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. Seeing the vendors at the trade booth and the solutions they had come up with for common problems berry growers run into was helpful and encouraging. For instance, David and Teresa from Ag Resource Inc have been growing strawberries for more than a decade and really had some good tools to recommend. Another vendor sold irrigation equipment and talked about some of the challenges that might pop up.
The seminars we attended focused on pests, diseases, best practices and research about strawberries. It was a lot to take in, but we are new and we know we have a steep learning curve ahead of us.
We're grateful for the the connections we made, inspired by others who have started their own Pick-Your-Own berry operations in their local communities and energized to try some new, different things this year at The Berry Basket Farm.