Thursday, September 2, 2010

Northeast Missouri Fruit Farm Tours - Sept 15

The University of Missouri Extension and the Missouri Vegetable Growers Association jointly are sponsoring a Northeast Missouri Fruit Tour on September 15, 2010.

There is no cost to attend the tour, but you must pre-register by calling the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866. A boxed lunch will be available for $2.50. The Missouri Vegetable Growers Association is picking up the other half of the cost of the lunch. When you register you must indicate if you would like a lunch. Please let us know if you want a meat sandwich or a vegetarian sandwich.

Carpooling is strongly encouraged. We will meet at 9:30 am at Lost Branch Blueberry Farm for our first stop on the tour.
9:30-Lost Branch Blueberry Farm and Lost Branch Lodge
10:45-Leave Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lodge for winery
11:00-Jacob’s Vineyard and Winery
11:45-Leave for Truman State Farm
12:00-Tour of vineyard, compost pile; grape project presentation; lunch (boxed lunch from Hy-Vee for those who registered)
1:45-Leave for West Orchard
2:30-Arrive at West Orchard
3:30-Leave on own from Orchard

For more information contact Jennifer Schutter at the Adair County Extension Center at 660-665-9866.

Description of Farms
Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lost Branch Lodge
A tour of local fruit farms will take place on Wednesday, September 15 starting at 9:30 am. The first stop on the tour will be Lost Branch Blueberry Farm & Lost Branch Lodge. Robert and Kerri Price own and operate a U-pick blueberry operation 6 miles east of Kirksville on Lost Branch Way. During the fall of 2004, they worked very hard in making their soil as ideal as possible for blueberries, planting their first blueberry bushes in the spring of 2005. They now have approximately 1400 blueberry plants in production with 600 more plants maturing for future berries…and plans to keep planting more. From Kirksville, take highway 63 to highway 6 east, approximately six miles to Lost Branch Way, turn left and travel down Lost Branch Way approximately half a mile. You will see their sign on the left. For more information see their website.

Jabob's Vineyard and Winery
The second stop will be Jacob’s Vineyard and Winery just south of Kirksville on Eagle Lane. Jacob's Vineyard & Winery is a unique winery with purpose. What began as a business to help their son with Down's Syndrome, is now a place to taste and enjoy the fruits of the Pruett's love and labor. Sheila Pruett will discuss how they started the operation and will give a tour of the six acre vineyard and winery. Take highway 63 south from Kirksville and turn left on Eagle Lane. This is approximately one mile south of the Days Inn. Go approximately 1.5 miles down Eagle Lane. The vineyard and winery are on the left.

Truman State University Farm
The third stop on the tour is the Truman State University Farm. We (Jennifer Schutter, horticulture specialist & Darla Campbell, ag-business specialist) received grant funds from the University of Missouri Plant Protection Program to partner with Truman State on a grape vineyard project. At this stop, learn how we worked together to make the vineyard more productive and how they are working with the Truman Food Service to get the grapes into the dorm cafeterias. Both wine and table grapes are being grown in the vineyard. Eventually we would like to convert the whole vineyard to table grapes. Juice may be available for sampling. If there is time, we will take a look at the composting project being done on the farm. From the winery, take highway 63 north, turn left on business 63. Take business 63 (also called S. Franklin) to LaHarpe Street. Turn left onto LaHarpe and follow it to the farm, approximately one mile.

West Orchard
The last stop on the tour will be to the West Orchard just north of Macon. West Orchards is a family run business that began in the spring of 1995. The orchard sits on about 10 acres. The first year they planted 300 trees and followed up the next year with 700 and a few years later another 300. So the initial planting of 300 and a hobby orchard grew to a full blown business in a matter of a few years. With 17 varieties of apples your palette will surely find one you like. They also have several varieties of peaches, apricots, pears and plums. See their website at West Orchard is a u-pick operation and you will be able to pick apples that day if some are available for harvest. Directions: From Kirksville take highway 63 south and turn west on AX ( Axtell road ) and go 3/4 mile then turn south on Jewell Ave., go approximately 3/4 mile. West Orchard will be on the west side of the road.

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