Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Organic Farm Tour in Northeast Missouri

The Missouri Organic Association will be hosting a farm tour on October 15, 2011. The tour will start at 10:00 am at Blue Heron Orchard, 32974 220th St, Canton, MO.  The farm is owned by Dan Kelly and Cherie Sampson.  There will be two guest speakers at the farm tour.

Blue Heron Orchard's unique
 'agritecture', a straw-bale and
timber frame cold storage building
for our apples. Constructed in 2001.
Blue Heron Orchard has practice organic farming since 1990 when the trees went into the ground.  We became the first certified organic apple orchard in the state of Missouri in 1990.  Building and understanding the orchard and the land that nourishes it take time.  Finding the balance and respecting the forces that keep the ecosystem whole is a commitment to the land.  Blue Heron Orchard is located in northeast Missouri on a Mississippi River bluff 30 miles north of Hannibal.

Large, predaceous wasps as potential pest control agents will be discussed by Dr. Joe Coelho is an Associate Professor of Biology at Quincy University, where he teaches courses in ecology, environmental science, zoology, botany and other topics. Both an educator and a scientist, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Riverside in 1984 and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1989. While he has authored papers on cultural entomology, most of his research focuses on the ecology and evolution of wasps. Known as a mad scientist and adventurer, Coelho is also an award-winning outdoor writer and photographer. Coelho combines an understanding of natural history with a passion for photography in his public speeches.

Predaceous wasps are seldom considered among methods of biological control. However, several common species are caterpillar specialists and have the potential to reduce a variety of garden and orchard pests. Two types of wasps will be highlighted in this slide/lecture presentation. The carpenter wasp, Monobia quadridens, is a widespread, solitary wasp that preys mostly on pyralid larvae. It has a long season and is easily cultivated. Paper wasps (Polistes spp.), though more aggressive, are generalists on a wider range of prey. A social species, they are also easy to encourage in desired areas. Advantages and disadvantages of each type, as well as means of boosting their numbers, will be described.
Prairie burning as an aid for
insect control in the orchard.
The other speaker will be Joel Gruver. He will be speaking about Joel will be discussing with hands on experiencing orchard floor management. He will also be touring the vegetable gardens and high tunnels answering questions and pointing out the various considerations for soil health in the various alternative growing areas of Blue Heron Orchard. Blue Heron Orchard is a certified organic farm specializing in apples but has a broad diversity of alternative vegetable crops through the four seasons.

Dr. Joel Gruver discovered his fascination with crops and soils at a young age on his family's homestead in rural Maryland. His formal education includes a BS in Chemistry from Principia College (Elsah, IL), an MS in Agronomy from the University of Maryland (College Park, MD) and a PhD in Soil Science from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC). He has taught courses related to soil science and agroecology at Tufts University, Principia College, North Carolina State University, Central Carolina Community College and Western Illinois University where he is currently an assistant professor and director of the WIU Organic research program. Joel is a continuous student of the art and science of soil management and enjoys helping farmers and gardeners to translate scientific concepts into practical applications.

The price for the farm tour will be $10.00 per person. It will include a light lunch and beverages.  To RSVP call 73-655-4291.  Click here for directions to the farm.

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