The Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers, a three-day workshop for people wanting to start an orchard business, will be offered March 6-8 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The course prepares participants to grow and sell apples using a variety of management strategies and tools.
“Our goal is to help people understand the business of running an orchard — from site selection, land preparation, and selecting varieties and rootstocks to annual maintenance, marketing, sales and management,” says school coordinator John Hendrickson. “It is especially important to recognize the labor and financial realities of running a farm so that growers can set realistic goals and improve their chances of success.”
The program combines the expertise of seasoned growers and UW-Madison faculty. Primary instructors will be Henry Morren of Morren Orchard and Nursery, and Rami Aburomia of Atoms to Apples. Joining them will be Amaya Atucha, UW-Madison fruit crop production specialist; Christelle Guedot, fruit crop entomologist; and other special guests.
The school will emphasize sustainable and organic production methods, including integrated pest management strategies. Participants will have opportunities to network with others intent on making a business out of growing and selling apples.
One aim of the school is to help participants understand the complete costs of establishing an orchard, including planting, equipment and facilities. Students will receive a copy of the new Fruit and Nut Compass planning tool to help them navigate the financial aspects of an orchard business.
The Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association and is open to the public. Registration for the program costs $375.