Strawberry Season Extension, Berry Marketing Workshop Offered March 19


WAUSEON, Ohio – The growing popularity and demand for locally grown foods offers growers who are looking for ways to generate additional income a viable alternative using land they already have, according to an educator with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

With the increased consumer demand for healthier food, growers who are able to add small fruit production to their farm operations may find that berry production is one potentially lucrative option, said Eric Richer, an Ohio State University Extension educator.

“Berries are a great option because the fruits are extremely popular with consumers and can be produced on small parcels of land,” he said. “Because berries are full of nutrients and are best purchased locally, they make a great option for growers looking to generate extra income.”

To help berry growers -- new and experienced alike -- learn how to extend their growing season and how to recognize spotted wing drosophila, a relatively new-to-the-region winged pest that negatively impacts berry crops, horticulture and viticulture experts from the college will host the Northwest Ohio Berry Production and Marketing School March 19. The workshop will offer insight into these issues as well as other key concerns facing small fruit growers, he said.

The program is 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Robert Fulton Agriculture Center, 8770 State Route 108, in Wauseon.

The workshop will focus primarily on issues surrounding production, management, and food and community, Richer said. That includes offering information on how to grow plasticulture strawberries, information on wine grape production, and guidance on how growers can get started in blackberry, raspberry and other alternative berry production, as well as legal and food safety concerns, he said.

“This berry school will provide both small and niche farmers with various ideas on how to diversify their operations while increasing their revenues,” Richer said. 

Researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) will conduct the workshop, including horticulture specialist Brad Bergefurd and Gary Gao, an OSU Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops. Rebecca Singer, with the Center for Innovative Food Technology, also will speak at the workshop.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Blackberry production.
  • Wine grape production.
  • Raspberry production.
  • Alternative berries. 
  • Direct marketing.
  • Business plans.
  • Legal considerations.
  • Safety. 
  • Blanching and freezing.
  • Local foods.
  • Berry preservation.

Registration for the workshop is $40 and includes the program, a growers panel, handouts and lunch. Payment can be sent in the form of a check made payable to OSU Extension and mailed to: OSU Extension, Fulton County, 8770 State Route 108, Suite A, Wauseon, Ohio, 43567. The deadline to register is March 14.

For more information, including detailed planting and production details, contact Richer at 419-337-9210 or More information on the workshop can be found at

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 


Eric Richer