Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO
Michigan Greenhouse Growers EXPO

2014 Special Events


Farm Market Bus Tour (return to top)

Monday, December 8, 8:00 am
Departing from the Welch Auditorium, Lyons St. entrance (south end of the DeVos Place Convention Center)

The seventh annual Farm Market Bus Tour will be held on Monday, December 8, the day before the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO opens. Last year’s tour filled four buses and attracted farm marketers from 19 states and five Canadian provinces. In 2014, attendees will visit six top farm market and agritourism locations in west and central Michigan. The tour stops are all different from past tours. The tour is sponsored by the Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News with support from the Michigan Agritourism Association.

The Farm Market Bus Tour is a great opportunity to network with other farm marketers, while learning how some innovative farmers get their products onto the tables of consumers using creative and unique marketing strategies. While traveling on the buses between stops, there will be interactive discussions to share information and research findings with others on the tour, which will be moderated by Michigan State University Extension educators.

The cost of the tour is $155 per person. This includes lunch and snacks. If you register after November 14, the cost is $179 and subject to availability. Registration is limited. Use the EXPO’s registration online or printed registration form to register.

Click here for more information on the tour, including descriptions of each of the host farm markets that will be visited. Call Jim McClure at 734-677-0503 or email him at jmcclure@managedbyamr.com if you have questions or need additional information about the tour. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to see and learn about new possibilities for your market.


Industry Luncheon (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Pantlind Ballroom, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

This event brings together grower leaders and others with an interest in matters important to agriculture. Dan Wyant, Director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, will be the featured speaker at this year’s luncheon. Dan’s prior experience includes nine years as Director of Michigan’s Department of Agriculture. Since becoming Director of DEQ in 2011, Dan has brought a clear strategic vision to the department and a proven track record for helping opposing interests find common ground. In his role as Director of DEQ, Dan also chairs the Quality of Life group for Governor Snyder’s administration. This group works to find ways that three state agencies with similar missions and constituents – the DEQ, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development – can run more efficiently and effectively through coordination at the administrative and field levels.

Tickets are $27 and are available through pre-registration only.


Midwest Pickle Association and Pickle & Pepper Research Committee for MSU (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Gallery Overlook (upper level) Room G-H, DeVos Place Convention Center

Members of the Midwest Pickle Association and the Pickle & Pepper Research Committee for MSU are invited to attend this special reporting and business program. The program schedule will be as follows:

  • Cucumber research reporting session and working lunch (11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.)
  • Brine cutting demonstration (2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.)
  • Pickle & Pepper Research Committee meeting (3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
  • Midwest Pickle Association business meeting (3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.)


Fruit Variety Showcase (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Ballroom D, DeVos Place Convention Center

Fruit varieties and strains gathered from various locations around North America will be displayed. Unique varieties that are successful at farm markets and U-Pick operations will be included in the display, as will everbearing raspberries. The display will be available to view both Tuesday and Wednesday in the meeting room used for the tree fruit and apple sessions. A display of Clarksville Research Center red fleshed apples will be displayed, as well as a display of cider varieties.


MSHS Annual Meeting (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 4:30 p.m.
Grand Gallery (lower level) Room C, DeVos Place Convention Center

The annual meeting of the Michigan State Horticultural Society (MSHS) will include director elections and reports on activities. All members are welcome.


Meet the Buyers Reception (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Center Concourse, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

Fruit and vegetable growers will have an opportunity to connect with retail, wholesale and institutional buyers at this event to learn how to get more of their fresh produce into the value chain and onto store shelves. The event is hosted by Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), in partnership with the MSU Product Center and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, with support from a number of industry sponsors. More than 400 farmers attended this popular event last year.


Michigan Floriculture Growers Council Reception and Annual Meeting (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
River Overlook (upper level) Room E-F, DeVos Place Convention Center

All Michigan Floriculture Growers Council members and other interested industry professionals are invited to attend this event. This will be an opportunity for an enjoyable social time and informative discussion of the Council’s activities. The Council’s annual meeting will be held as part of this event. Light refreshments will be served.


Michigan AgriTourism Association Gathering (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Gallery Overlook (upper level) Room G-H, DeVos Place Convention Center

Held just prior to the popular Farm Marketing Roundtable, this gathering is for all Michigan farm market and agritourism operators who wish to learn more about the Michigan Agritourism Association. This will be an enjoyable social time and an opportunity for informal discussion about the work of this organization. The association will hold a brief annual meeting during the gathering.


Farm Marketing Roundtable (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 6 p.m.
Ballroom C, DeVos Place Convention Center

Come to this popular “town hall-style” session to share ideas with your farm marketing colleagues. We’ll talk about what worked and what didn’t work in 2014, what to try in 2015, how you might conquer your customer, employee and marketing challenges, and more. This event continues to grow every year so get there early.


Michigan Craft Beer Tasting and Food Pairing Reception (return to top)

Tuesday, December 9, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
The B.O.B. (Big Old Building), 20 Monroe Avenue (five minute walk from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel)

Grand Rapids’ claim as Beer City USA will be on display at the inaugural Michigan Craft Beer Tasting and F ood Pairing Reception, which will be held in conjunction with the EXPO. The reception will be hosted by The B.O.B., MSU Extension, and the Michigan Brewers Guild. A variety of beers with Michigan hops will be paired with small food plates demonstrating the versatility of different beer styles while combining elements of the farm-to-table and farm-to-glass movements. Food and beer pairings will be developed collaboratively between the culinary staff at The B.O.B. and the Beerevangalist, Fred Bueltman. The reception will be held in The B.O.B.'s newly remodeled "H.O.M.E." space. The cost of the reception for Great Lakes EXPO registrants is a discounted $30 per person. Tickets can be purchased through pre-registration or on Tuesday at registration.


Prayer Breakfast (return to top)

Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 a.m.
Pantlind Ballroom, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

Scott Skelly, a young grower and farm marketer from Janesville, Wisconsin, will provide the message at this year’s breakfast. While many EXPO attendees have probably been farming longer than Scott Skelly has been alive, Scott is doing his best to catch up. During high school, Scott founded Corn Mazes America, which has taken him to farms across the heartland. It was during these summer travels and encounters with farmers across the country that Scott was inspired to author his newly released book, Tilling God's Land:100 Devotions for Christian Farmers. In this book, he combines his farming experiences with the stories of farmers scattered throughout the Bible. Scott explores how farmers can learn and grow in their faith while growing their crops.

Tickets are $17 and should be purchased through pre-registration or on Tuesday at registration.


Michigan Apple Growers Luncheon (return to top)

Wednesday, December 10, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Ambassador Ballroom, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

This is a free luncheon program open to all Michigan apple growers. The luncheon is co-sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee and a number of industry sponsors. Featured speaker James Olson, former CIA Chief of Counterintelligence, will describe his undercover career with the CIA. He will also discuss the role of the CIA in the current Global War on Terrorism and other current issues affecting the safety and security of American citizens. This year's program will also feature the crowning of the 2015 Michigan Apple Queen by reigning Michigan Apple Queen, Elizabeth Wittenbach of Belding. Updates from the Michigan Apple Committee and USApple will also be provided during the program.


MVC Annual Meeting (return to top)

Wednesday, December 10, 11:15 A.m.
Grand Gallery (lower level) Room C, DeVos Place Convention Center

The annual meeting of the Michigan Vegetable Council (MVC) will include director elections and reports on activities. All members are welcome.


EXPO Banquet (return to top)

Wednesday, December 10, 6:30 p.m.
Ambassador Ballroom, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

Michele Payn-Knoper will be the featured speaker at this year’s EXPO Banquet on Wednesday, December 10. Michele is a "farm girl" from Michigan who now resides on a farm in west central Indiana. Michele is a passionate champion for agriculture who has spoken to audiences across the U.S. and beyond. Michele's message will celebrate the people, promise and passion of agriculture. She will share her thoughts on how growers can lead through all the challenges and significant changes facing agriculture and leave a legacy for their farm business. Michele holds degrees in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science from Michigan State University. She is past president of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association and had the impact of her work featured in a Spartan Saga (the barn on her family’s Indiana farm is green and white).

The banquet program will also include recognition of people who have made outstanding contributions to Michigan’s fruit and vegetable industries. In addition, recipients of the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Scholarships and Jordan Tatter Scholarships will be recognized and the winning entries in this year’s Cider Contest will be announced.

Tickets are $37 and advance purchase through pre-registration is recommended. A limited number of tickets will be available at registration until noon on Wednesday.


Cider Contest (return to top)

Wednesday, December 7, 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Gallery Overlook (upper level) G-H, DeVos Place Convention Center

The cider contest will judge the best cider produced by Michigan cider makers (only Michigan cider producers are eligible for the contest). Here are some important details for the contest:

  • To enter, cider producers must submit two 1-gallon cider jugs at the Exhibitor Registration desk in the Grand Gallery concourse in DeVos Place on Tuesday, December 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or on Wednesday, December 11, from 9 a.m. to noon. No entries will be accepted after noon on Wednesday.
  • Cider samples must be thawed by 1 p.m. on Wednesday (this is the responsibility of each cider producer, not the contest coordinator).
  • Cider contest judging will be on Wednesday afternoon. Judging will be held in one of the upper level Grand Gallery meeting rooms and will be open for viewing starting at 1:30 p.m.
  • Winners will be announced at the EXPO Banquet on Wednesday evening. First place receives a plaque and a traveling trophy. Second and third places receive a plaque.
  • Samples of the winning ciders will be available to taste in the Grand Gallery of DeVos Place on Thursday morning.
  • Entry forms are available in advance by contacting Bob Tritten, MSU Extension (810-244-8555; tritten@msu.edu). Forms can also be downloaded from the Great Lakes EXPO’s website.


Greenhouse Bus Tour (return to top)

Thursday, December 11
Departing from the Welch Auditorium, Lyon St. entrance (south end of the DeVos Convention Center) at 7:30 a.m.

Three of southwest Michigan’s finest greenhouses and garden centers, along with Michigan Grower Products, will be visited on the Greenhouse Bus Tour. This is a special event at the 2014 Michigan Greenhouse Growers EXPO. This will be a full-day tour returning to the convention center by 4:15 p.m.

Consider joining other greenhouse growers on this tour to see a soilless media manufacturing facility and wholesale and retail operations that grow and sell high quality plants. The tour stops include Great Lakes Greenhouses, Wenke Greenhouses and Wedel’s Garden Center in Kalamazoo, MI, and Michigan Grower Products in Galesburg, MI.

The cost of the tour is $79 per person. This includes transportation to the greenhouse stops, lunch and refreshments. A minimum of 15 participants will be needed for this event to occur. In addition to the information gained at each stop, this will be a great opportunity for networking with growers and others interested in greenhouse production.

Registration is limited! Use the EXPO’s registration online or printed registration form to register.

Click here for more information on the tour. If you need additional information about the tour, call Heidi Wollaeger, MSU Extension-Kalamazoo County at 269-384-8010. This will be a great opportunity to see and learn about new possibilities for your greenhouse.


Taste of the Winning Ciders (return to top)

Thursday, December 11, 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Grand Gallery Concourse, DeVos Place Convention Center

Sample the winning ciders from the Cider Contest. Don't miss this chance to taste delicious Michigan ciders.

December
9-11, 2014

Sponsored by
Michigan State
Horticultural Society

and
Michigan
Vegetable Council

in cooperation with
Michigan State
University Extension
Sponsored by
Metropolitan Detroit
Flower Growers Association

and
Western Michigan
Greenhouse Association

in cooperation with
Michigan State
University Extension