Super Berry Field Night to Provide Insight on Fruit Crops New to Ohio

Blueberries and red goji berries. Photo: Thinkstock.

PIKETON, Ohio – Growers wanting to know more about production of a variety of berries not traditionally grown in Ohio can learn more about how this crop can add income to your farm during an upcoming workshop conducted by horticulture and viticulture experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

A Super Berry Field Night will be offered July 7 to help new and experienced growers learn more about Black Goji berries and other so-called “super fruits,” including blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, aronia and red goji berries, said Gary Gao, an Ohio State University Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon.

Super berries or super fruits are fruit crops that are known to have high antioxidant content and many health benefits, Gao said. The fruits’ health benefits have created a strong market for local growers who can increase farm incomes thanks to increased consumer demand for more Ohio-grown super fruits, he said.

“Black goji berries, which is a fairly new crop to Ohio fruit production, are growing in consumer popularity because they are known to have more antioxidants and health benefits,” Gao said. “Although this new variety of berries can be difficult to grow, it’s a new and exciting crop that has many growers and consumers very interested.”

The workshops will also offer information on pest management, trellis construction and how to use containers for extended-season fruit production, he said.

“We’ll show growers how to produce fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and black berries in containers as well as how to identify diseases and insects,” Gao said. “We’ll also discuss how to manage vineyard canopies to expose grape clusters to more sunlight, which helps to improve fruit quality.

“Growers will also learn about different container fruit production systems and practical trellising techniques to keep plants protected from weather.”

The program is 6 to 9 p.m. at the OSU South Centers’ Endeavor Center, 1862 Shyville Road, in Piketon.

Conducting the workshop will be researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), including Gao, viticulture outreach specialist Dave Scurlock and research assistant Ryan Slaughter.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college. The OSU South Centers are also part of the college.

The workshop will focus on:

  • Blueberry Cultivars and Production Techniques.
  • Summer Vineyard Management Practices.
  • Blackberry Production Systems.
  • Introduction to Elderberry, Aronia, and Goji Berry Production.
  • Container Fruit Production.
  • Chemigation for Pest Management.
  • Field Tour.

Registration for the workshop is $15 and includes the program, handouts and a light dinner. Contact Charissa Gardner at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, to register or for more information. The deadline to register is July 5.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Gary Gao
740-289-2071, ext. 123