, Muskogee, OK

January 3, 2013

Horticulture Industries Show worth a look

By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market

— For those interested in learning about growing horticultural crops for market or in public spaces, the upcoming 32nd annual Horticulture Industries Show should be well worth attending.

Scheduled for Jan. 11-12 at the Holiday Inn City Center in Fort Smith, Ark., the event consists of keynote presentations, a trade show and concurrent sessions covering specific topics about Christmas tree production, public gardens, farmers markets, and growing fruits and vegetables commercially.

On-site registration for the two-day event begins at 8 a.m. on the Jan. 11, with a general session from 9 to 10 a.m., titled “Navigating the Road to On-Farm Food Safety, Buyer Requirements and Future Regulations.” The speaker, Gretchen Wall, coordinates the Produce Safety Alliance Program, a collaborative between FDA, USDA, and Cornell University to provide fundamental, science-based, on-farm food safety knowledge to fresh fruit and vegetable farmers, packers, regulatory personnel and others interested in the safety of fresh produce.

Following the opening session, three different concurrent sessions will fill the day with many different speakers talking about topics such as fertilization and pest control for Christmas trees, high tunnel production of fruits and vegetables and demonstration gardens at public arboretums.

One talk about butterfly gardens and arboretums may be of particular interest to some folks in Muskogee. One of the speakers, Barbie Luther is a master gardener and serves as the project chairman for the South Arkansas Arboretum Butterfly Garden, in El Dorado, Ark., about 100 miles south of Little Rock.

Following the first day of programming, a reception with wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres sourced from local producers will take place at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the reception is $7 while tickets last.

Day 2 on Jan 12, will begin at 9 a.m. with a keynote talk by Marty Matlock, entitled “Measuring Sustainability in Specialty Crops.” Matlock is the executive director of the Office for Sustainability at the University of Arkansas, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering and the author of a forthcoming book, “Metrics for Agricultural Sustainability.”

Topics covered during the concurrent sessions include agritourism for Christmas tree growers, integrated pest management for organic fruit production, expanding farmers market programs and solutions for small-scale produce washing systems.

On-site registration for both days is $75, with discounts provided to spouses and additional adults from the same business or household. Student admission is free with a valid I.D. A limited number of lunch tickets may be available at the door on the morning of the first day.

For complete program details and registration information, visit or call (405) 744-6460.