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Looking for a Market Niche? Check Out Our Conference

Posted by Michele Spencer at Jan 10, 2013 04:29 PM |

PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference has workshops on wild forest products, fruit tree management & uncommon fruits.

MILLHEIM, PA. January 10, 2013 - Forest products involve more than just timber and saw logs. Ramps, mushrooms, nettles, fiddlehead ferns and garlic mustard are but a handful of the edible plants forested land has to offer. Have you ever wondered how you might translate plants that grow wild in the woods into part of your on-farm diversified income or use them to enliven your diet seasonally?

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announces Goods from the Woods: Foraging, Growing & Marketing Niche Forest Products, a one-day track held as part of the 22nd Annual Farming for the Future Conference. The track, led by a panel of speakers including Steve Schwartz, Delaware Valley Ramps; Eric Burkhart, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center & Tom Patterson, Wild Purveyors, takes place Thursday, February 7 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA.

This workshop, offered a day before the PASA main conference, is structured so that   participants can learn about wild forest products that are sought after throughout the mid-Atlantic region by farm market customers, chefs and CSA members. Presenters will explore how these seasonal crops can be integrated into the farm to both broaden and strengthen the bottom line. Discussion will also include details of actual niche business models  - focusing on the establishment of Wild Purveyors and Delaware Valley Ramps.

Forest products to be discussed include wild mushrooms (morels, hen-of-the-woods and chanterelles), edible plants (ramps, nettles and fiddlehead ferns) and invasive plants (Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard). This PASA conference track will cover basic information about each of these crops, as well as how forest produce can be used to seasonally enhance health and nutrition, broaden and strengthen income and sustainably utilize forest ecosystems for food production.

PASA’s main conference lineup on Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9, also includes a series of workshops hosted by master horticulturist Lee Reich. Lee classifies himself as a “farmdener” (more than a garden, less than a farm). Several years ago he transitioned from a research position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cornell University to become a well-known writer, lecturer and consultant. Join Lee for an in-depth review of blueberries from planting from planting to harvest; pruning fruit trees, shrubs and vines; and uncommon fruits with market potential.

Registration for this pre-conference track and the main conference is available at: pasafarming.org/conference

Over the past two decades, the Farming for the Future Conference has secured a reputation as a premiere gathering place for leaders in the global sustainable food movement. The 2013 conference is expected to attract more than 2,000 farmers, chefs, students, business leaders and others from over 30 U.S. states and several foreign nations.

The Farming for the Future Conference is made possible in part by Opening Keynote sponsor Lady Moon Farms and PASAbilities Sponsor Kimberton Whole Foods.

To learn more about the Farming for the Future Conference, and to register online, visit pasafarming.org/conference.
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