Thursday, April 24, 2008

Produce Auction & Strawberry Hoop House Tour

Date: May 2, 2008
Location: Jamesport, MO

One of the more interesting aspects of my job is the creativeness of farmers. For the last couple of years, several growers around Jamesport have been trying out hoop house strawberries.

The strawberries are grown in greenhouse-like structures, which for the most part are unheated. During the April freeze last year, some of the growers did use a little heat to save blooms. Other than extreme conditions like those we saw last year, no heat is used.
Hoop houses, sometimes called high tunnels, give these strawberry growers a jump on the season. Many crops will be picked several weeks earlier in hoop houses compared to the same crop outdoors. Last year, the hoop house strawberries were being picked close to one month before their outdoor cousins.

If you are interested in seeing how these strawberries are grown, University of Missouri Extension will be holding a tour on Friday, May 2nd.

The tour will start at the produce auction near Jamesport. The auction starts at 10:00 AM and is expected to end between 11AM and noon. This part of the tour is informal. Arrive whenever you like, and observe the auction in action. Lunch will be on your own. There is a lunch stand at the auction that you may wish to patronize before the rest of the tour begins.

When the auction is over, will assemble to travel to the farms. Before leaving, we will spend a few minutes to learn more about the auction. Atlee Stutzman, produce auction manager, will be there to explain how the auction works, and answer your questions.

The first stop will be the farm of Noah and Martha Kramer. Noah and his family are experienced produce growers, with a variety of fruits and vegetables to see. The hoop house strawberries will be highlighted, but there will be other interesting crops to see, such as an orchard and a tomato greenhouse. The strawberries should be in full production by May 2nd.

The second stop will be at the farm of Joe and Sarah Stutzman. This will be their second year of production. Although they are new strawberry growers, they did very well last year, and are expecting a good crop again this year.

This should be an exciting opportunity to learn about the auction, and how produce is grown by the Amish in Jamesport. We do have one request: please do not take photographs of the Amish themselves, to respect their religious beliefs.

The produce auction can be found on Highway F, just east of Jamesport. From the 4-way stop in downtown Jamesport, head east. The auction is about one half mile after you leave town, on the north side of the highway.

If you need further information, call the Daviess County Extension Center at 660-663-3232.

For more information about hoophouses/high tunnels, go to the MAC website and click on the letter "H".

1 comment:

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