If you are a fruit and vegetable producer who missed the local Season Extension Workshop sponsored by WVU Extension Service in March, you may be interested in attending a similar workshop coming up in Mason County next week (Thursday).

The WVUES Horticulture Specialist, Dr. Lewis Jett, will be in Mason County on Thursday, October 11, 2012 to discuss methods to extend the growing season for WV vegetable and fruit growers. The meeting will take place at the Mason County Career Center (281 Scenic Drive, Pt. Pleasant; 304-675-3039) on from 7 TO 9 P.M.

"With the West Virginia's Department of Education's Farm to School program providing incentives for local school systems to purchase food from local growers, more growers need to learn how to become involved in this new market opportunity," says local WVU Extension Agent, Brandy Brabham.

"Season extension methods can be simple and inexpensive, requiring little to no additional infrastructure, but can typically allow producers to plant and harvest four to five weeks earlier or later for the average WV growing season."

Farmers and student groups (FFA, 4-H, etc.) who are considering growing produce for the WV Farm to School Program or installing high or low tunnels on their property are encouraged to attend this meeting on season extension methods.

Dr. Jett will discuss management considerations for marketing to school cafeterias including selecting pest-resistant plants and plant varieties that will grow profitably while supplying our students with nutritious and fresh food.

He will discuss how to determine planting and harvesting dates based on demand for the school calendar year. Lastly, he will discuss storage and handling considerations for produce supplied to the Farm to School Program.

A meeting to discuss the specific requirements for Farm to School Program for growers in the Mid-Ohio Valley region has been set in Spencer on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at the Heritage Park Community Building.

For more information about this meeting, please contact Brandy Brabham at the WVU-Roane County Extension Office at 304-927-0975. For the meeting this week, please RSVP for space considerations by calling the WVU Extension Office in Mason County: Rodney Wallbrown at (304)675-0888 or Putnam County, Chuck Talbott at (304)586-0217.

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