By Forrest Scharf, PAg., Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops
The Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association (SFGA) has started to develop a new strategic plan. The previous plan expired in 2017. Development of a good industry strategy is important because significant opportunities have been brought forth that need to be addressed in a timely and thoughtful manner. Unfortunately, last year’s effort to formulate an industry-wide business plan was not effective due to lack of grower input. Fruit industry stakeholders interested in contributing to the strategic-planning effort, or who wish to express specific concerns, are encouraged to communicate with the SFGA’s client service representative, Karen Mann, at:
- Mailing Address: PO Box 21038 Saskatoon SK S7H 5N9
- Street Address: 2335 Schuyler Street Saskatoon, SK S7M 5V1
- Phone: 306.975.6881
- Fax: 306.975.6850
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The SFGA held a conference and annual general meeting, the “Saskatchewan Produce Conference,” in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Vegetable Growers Association (SVGA), on Jan. 20, 2018. Roughly 30 fruit and 20 vegetable growers attended. The speaker sessions were excellent, and the open networking that took place made the day very enjoyable. Participants were free to listen to the speakers they wanted, and the day ended with a tour of the new
Saskatchewan Agri-Food Innovation Centre in Saskatoon. The cost ($45.00) was lower than previous conferences, and included lunch and transportation to and from the Food Centre. It seems the single-day, lower-cost conference corresponds better to grower preferences, and this model is expected to be carried forward for future events.
On June 9, 2018, the SFGA also organized a Summer Field Tour in coordination with the Canadian Cherry Producers Inc.. The day started at “The Fruit Basket” owned by Glen and Shannon Caffet west of Spiritwood, Sask. Their orchard features U-pick strawberries, saskatoons, cherries, haskap, apples, plums and pears. Various types of equipment were also inspected, and the morning was capped off with a lunch provided by the Caffets. The afternoon tour was located south of Spiritwood, at Aumack Haskap Berry Ranch, owned by Kathy and Randy Aumack. Several varieties of haskap and pollinators were featured, and participants were offered the opportunity to indulge in consumption of haskap cheesecake.
The tour wasn’t advertised well in advance this year, but it was greatly appreciated by the participants who were able to attend. A huge “thank you” is extended to the hosts for their volunteerism.
The launch of the new SFGA website remains a priority. It will be launched soon.