The 19th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference, “A Taste of Hawaii,” is Sept. 18-20 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
Presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG), the event opens Friday at ‘Mealani A Taste of the Hawaiian Range’ and is geared for farmers, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture.
Headlining the ag gathering Saturday is the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s 2007 Young Nursery Professional of the Year, Erik Tietig of Pine Island Nursery.
Tietig specializes in the production of tropical fruit, nut and spice trees, said Ken Love, HTFG executive director.
“Eric brings a wealth of knowledge on new fruit tree varieties not yet growing in Hawaii,” Love said. “He’ll discuss fruits that have great potential for our local growers.”
In addition, Love said this year’s conference features extended sessions by local researchers who have “a tremendous amount of info to share about a wide variety of fruit crops.”
Saturday presentations will address longan fungicide field trials, harvesting “perfect” Sharwil avocados, maintaining postharvest quality of longans and rambutans, flowering and fruit set in sapindaceous fruits, combating fire ants and diversified orchard management.
Experts from the USDA and UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) will offer updates on projects involving ohelo berries, avocado, lychee/longan production and the CTAHR Sustainable Farming Systems Laboratory.
“A Taste of Hawaii” also includes a chef’s panel on “Utilizing Tropical Fruit,” and a group discussion on the pesky verroa mite moderated by Richard Johnson, HTFG president. Farm and orchard tours are planned for Sunday.
“While the conference offers info on important issues facing our fruit growers, it will also provide tips on how to become more competitive,” Love said. “Our goal, as a fruit industry, is to provide exceptional service to customers, reclaim local markets from imports and prepare for new export options.”
The gathering is open to the public; register by contacting Love at 323-2417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion.