The "What" Berry Farm in conjunction with the Midwest Aronia Association and Aronia Berry Services of Northeast Iowa is hosting a harvest day at the farm, located at 3129 236th Street, Fairbank, Iowa. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 6. The public is invited and lunch will be served. Those wishing to attend should email [email protected].
Brian Smith, state Extension fruit specialist from University of Wisconsin at River Falls, will talk about starting aronia, along with site analysis, cultivars, budgets, culture, potential pests, nutrition, irrigation and weed control. Smith's presentation will be followed by a harvester demonstration and Aaron Terbeest discussing Aronia pruning. Lunch will be served at noon and the speakers will repeat their presentations following the luncheon. The harvest day will begin wrap-up at 3:30 p.m.
Purple berry is a new, value-added, sustainably grown crop
Aronia has been introduced in recent years as a value-added sustainably grown crop, and researchers have discovered numerous health benefits in the dark purple berry.
The Midwest Aronia Association is a nonprofit group whose focus is education concerning aronia. Main goals include assisting growers and re-establishing aronia as a healthy staple in modern diets by introducing aronia berries to consumers.
Midwest Aronia Association members learn growing basics and advanced growing techniques, best management practices, frost protection, legal perspectives of cooperatives, processing, research on the benefits of anthocyanins on cancer, etc., and are offered networking sessions for growers during annual conferences and occasional field days or events. For more information about Aronia and the MAA, please visit the MAA website.
NEW SPECIALIST: Diana Cochran brings expertise in nursery management, plant propagation and horticulture plant materials to her new position as fruit specialist for ISU Extension.
Diana Cochran is the new fruit specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She brings expertise in nursery management, plant propagation and horticulture plant materials to this position, which serves the state of Iowa. In her role, Cochran will focus on commercial fruit production and provide support to Iowa producers. Horticulture Extension provides research-based information to aid in making their operations more efficient and profitable.
Cochran's research emphasis is in fruit production and viticulture, with a focus on evaluating sustainable production systems, cold hardiness, season extension, nutrient management and environmental variables such as light, temperature and water use efficiency on growth, development and establishment.
"I look forward to getting to know the great state of Iowa and working with Iowa growers to help produce quality fruit crops without reducing crop quality," she says. Cochran has a Ph.D. in ag science from Mississippi State University, and her bachelor's and master's degrees in horticulture from Auburn University. Cochran can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 515-294-6764.