WOOSTER, Ohio — Cut flower growers from the Midwest and beyond will blossom in northern Ohio soon. They’ll be in Wooster Aug. 8-9 for the 2011 Midwest Regional Meeting of the Association for Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
“Specialty cut flower production is a rewarding farm enterprise,” said one of the event’s planners, Megan Shoenfelt.
“Just as the interest in local food is growing, now is a great time for specialty cut flower producers,” she said. “Consumers, florists and wholesalers are delighted to find the selection of fresh cut flowers that can be grown in the Midwest.”
The program will be at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which is a part of Ohio State. Speakers will be featured from both the industry and university.
Ken Cochran, who’s the program director of OARDC’s Secrest Arboretum, will be one of them. He’ll speak on the best woody shrubs for cut branches.
There will be talks, too, on floral design; postharvest handling; organic weed management; integrated pest management scouting; and testing for, amending and maintaining healthy soils.
The first day ends with a tour of the gardens at the Agricultural Technical Institute. ATI adjoins the center and is a part of Ohio State too.
On Day 2, there will be tours of three Amish flower farms. All three are successful and growing; none of them use electricity.
Shoenfelt, who’s both an ASCFG member and the program coordinator of OARDC’s Agroecosystems Management Program, calls the meeting a “terrific opportunity.” It’s open to anyone interested in the industry, she said, from growing to marketing and from small scale to large.
In all, U.S. cut flower sales bring in more than $400 million a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
OARDC and ATI are both part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
ASCFG is a non-profit trade association that provides production and marketing information to cut flower growers across the nation. Headquarters are in Oberlin in northern Ohio.