Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Getting started in fruit, vegetable production


February 17, 2010
By Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Topics

February 17, 2010 – Almost
every winter, there is increased interest in horticulture crop production,
either as an entirely new business opportunity or as a diversification option.

February 17, 2010 – Almost
every winter, there is increased interest in horticulture crop production,
either as an entirely new business opportunity or as a diversification option.

The interest in direct marketed
fruits and vegetables has been increasing and merits a close look. When
considering entering into this industry, there are several key areas to factor
into the decision-making process.

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“Vegetable and berry
production is inherently unique and diverse,” says Robert Spencer, commercial
horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “There
are often a number of crops grown on a single farm, which increases the level
of management that is required. Scale can also be deceptive, particularly when
compared to conventional farming operations.

“Producers considering
fruit or vegetable production should also keep in mind the target market
channel and the necessary skill sets and plans that are required. Some crops
will require specialized equipment. Labour is an issue in most crop production
systems, but can be a significant factor in fruits and vegetables. Good quality
soil and access to quality water are also key factors to starting and
maintaining a successful operation. Consider the typical growing season length
when deciding about which crops to grow.”

These and other factors
should be carefully outlined and considered during the planning process.
Gathering as much information as possible is critical. Talking to existing
producers can be a useful way of gathering ideas on how to be successful.

“If you are interested in
starting a fruit or vegetable crop operation, or have recently done so, and are
looking to increase your knowledge, attendance at the annual (Alberta) Berry
& Vegetable School would be worth your while,” says Spencer. “At this
two-day school, you will receive training on introductory fruit and vegetable
production and can mix and mingle with other producers of all experience
levels.”

Berry & Vegetable
School 2010 is being held in Red Deer on February 24 and 25, 2010. For the
program and registration information, visit www.albertafarmfresh.com.