By Roy D. Flanagan III, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Virginia Beach, Virginia Cooperative Extension
As I sit here writing this article, I am realizing that a lot of the details of this year’s programs are not firm, but here is what I know for sure at this point and I thought I would share a little about the history of this event.
Starting in the late 1990s, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Cal Schiemann realized that Southeast Virginia growers were not traveling the large strawberry-centric meetings and including strawberry as a topic into already existing local meetings was not impactful. So, in 1999 the first Virginia Beach Strawberry School was held. Over the years the meeting grew to include a field walk program the day before the Strawberry School. These events were held annually in Virginia Beach and became a largely attended meeting, growing well beyond the boundaries of Virginia. In 2018, we renamed the program Mid-Atlantic Strawberry Programs to better represent the scope of attendees, which regularly come from as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as Ohio. Now we run three programs over the course of two days to pack as much relevant and timely information into our time with the growers here as possible.
All programs are offered at no cost to the growers, RSVP is requested.
Programs for 2022 are:
Strawberry Field Walk (Feb. 28, 2022 12:30 p.m-dark)
An opportunity to join some of our region’s strawberry experts and growers in the fields. The program and discussion will come from the situations seen in the fields and the questions from growers. We will visit two Virginia Beach Strawberry Farms. The exact locations and details are TBD.
Evening Program (Feb. 28, 2022 5:30-9:00p.m. or so)
Location: Creeds Ruritan Community Complex, 1057 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23457
Topic: Soil Fumigant Certified Applicator Training
This three + hour program will be an in-person opportunity to get the required training and certification to fumigate with your private pesticide applicator license. The certification covers you for three years. We are still waiting on a full blessing from EPA through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Dinner will be included and attendees at this program.
Strawberry School and Trade Show (March 1, 2022 8:00a.m.-4:00 p.m.)
Location: VB Advanced Technology Center, 1800 College Crescent, on the VB Tidewater Community College Campus.
The Regional strawberry experts will be providing us with information on fertility programs, variety selection, overall strawberry production considerations, a forecast for the 2022 crop, and more. There will also be an update from the Virginia Strawberry Association during their annual business meeting to be held at lunchtime. We will also have ample time for attendees to visit with our awesome program sponsors and learn about their products and services. Lunch is included for the attendees of this program.