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Exhibits show berry, vegetable growers how to extend season

September 12, 2006

Vegetable farmers, do you want to have tomatoes and strawberries ready for market earlier in the spring with improved quality, too? Gardeners, do you want to start earlier in the spring and grow later into the fall season?

If so, you may not want to miss the "High Tunnel Exhibit" as part of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Open House at the CMREC Clarksville facility in Ellicott City, Md.

The Sept. 30 event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. rain or shine, will feature a 17-foot by 48-foot high tunnel used for organic tomato, strawberry and raspberry production. Visitors can inspect the end wall construction as well as the irrigation system.

"Come see the numbers as the 2006 strawberry and tomato early harvest dates, yield and economic data from this high tunnel will be presented," according to a press release.

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Bryan Butler, University of Maryland Extension educator in Carroll County, will be present to answer questions.

The Clarksville site is one of five high tunnels in Central Maryland participating in a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant program.

The SARE grant is administered by Future Harvest - A Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and partners USDA, ARS, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Maryland Cooperative Extension.

Also prices for smaller 12-foot and 14-foot wide high tunnels will be available.

These smaller tunnels can be used by home gardeners.

For more information, call Future Harvest-CASA at 1-410-549-7878 or e-mail it at fhcasa@verizon.net




Another SARE project will be on display during a Sept. 26 tour in Garrett County. The tour, which runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., begins at the Dan Yoder farm.

There, visitors will see five-year-old raspberry plants in a high tunnel and five-year-old raspberry plants outside. According to a press release, the Yoders have produced world class fruit with outstanding yields.

The tour will move to the Cheryl and Charles DeBerry Farm at 7:15 p.m. There, visitors will see day-neutral strawberry production inside a high tunnel as compared to day-neutral strawberry production outside.

This SARE project is looking at organic production of day neutral strawberry in an annual production system.

The twilight tour is being co-sponsored by Maryland Cooperative Extension and Future Harvest-CASA.

The farm families will be joined by Willie Lantz, Garrett County Extension educator; Dr. Harry Schwartz, associate professor, University of Maryland; and Mark Davis, president of Future Harvest.

To register or for more information, call the Maryland Cooperative Extension office in Garrett County at 1-301-334-6960.

The Yoder farm is at 2108 Pleasant Valley Road, Oakland, and the DeBerry Farm is at 215 Deberry Lane, off U.S. 219, two miles north of Oakland.

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