May 7, 2022 Correction
In This Issue
Correct Scholarship Link, Fred Dymond Passes Away
Reminder: PVGA Scholarship Applications Extended to May 15
PVGA is pleased to be able offer several annual scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to $2,000 in memory of Rudolph Grob of Millersville who served the Association for 50 years as a Director, 20 years as Secretary-Treasurer and for over 20 years as manager of the Association’s Farm Show Booth. Mr. Grob was a horticulture graduate of Penn State University who was employed for many years at Funk’s Farm Market in Millersville. See details on the scholarships and the application form here. (This is the corrected link to the application.)

Fred (Ted) Dymond Passes Away
Fred W. Dymond, 78, of Dallas, passed away, Monday, May 2, 2022, in Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. A former PVGA Director and faithful Farm Show Food Booth volunteer, he was the co-owner and operator of Dymond's Farm and Dymond's Farm Market & Bakery. See more here.

The above two articles are corrections or additions made on May 9th - the rest of the Update is the same as the original version from May 7.

Next Berry Growers Info Exchange is May 9th
PVGA is continuing to host a monthly get-together for berry growers on the second Monday night of the month at 8:00 p.m. This week they'll discuss weather conditions, growers' experiences with frost protection so far, quality of plants received from nursery sources this spring, and some diseases that are being seen. Meetings are designed to give growers a chance to get time-sensitive updates on current issues from state and regional extension personnel, exchange info with other growers, get answers to their questions, or just listen in or bounce thoughts off of others.  Kathy Demchak is the host.  
Calls are open to PVGA members and non-members to maximize information exchange, so spread the word and invite your friends and neighbors to join. 
The call-in numbers are (be aware that this is not a toll-free call):
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC).
The meeting ID is 830 7702 1881
If you have questions, contact us at or 717-694-3596.

PVGA Accepting Applications for Executive Director
PVGA is seeking to hire or contract with a person to serve as its Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing and administering the activities and business of the Association under the direction of the Board of Directors. Candidates with an agricultural/horticultural background and/or experience/familiarity with association management are preferred. Additional services as needed, such as clerical, accounting, or other services, may also be hired or contracted by the Association.

PVGA activities are concentrated in the months of November to February. They include the planning Board Meeting in early December, followed by the Farm Show Food Booth in early January, followed by the Mid Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in late January/early February. Consequently, focus and flexibility in the Executive Director’s work and schedule are essential in this time frame.

The Association does not have a physical office location because PVGA historically contracted for its management service. Therefore, whether hired or contracted, the successful candidate will need to establish an office in which to conduct the Association’s business. To ensure a smooth transition, the Association also expects the candidate to serve for a transition period of six to twelve months working with the current Executive Director.

If you are interested in applying, see the full position description and application instructions at director  or request them at If you know someone who would be a good candidate, please pass this information on to them. Applications are currently being reviewed and will continue to be accepted until a candidate is selected.

Spectrum Unveils Wireless Plant Growth Station
Spectrum Technologies is expanding its broad product offering with the release of the WatchDog Wireless Plant Growth Station. Through the single portable station, growers can now receive real-time, crop-specific environmental data on their smartphone including temperature, relative humidity and PAR Light from any source.

The WatchDog 3230 Wireless Plant Growth Station measures, records and communicates the important crop growing conditions in a greenhouse. The portable station has an integrated solar power system and boasts powerful Wi-Fi or cellular radios making communication simple. Growers can also view the current environmental conditions (including DLI (Daily Light Integral)) from the convenience of a smartphone with the help of the FREE WatchDog Mobile App. See more here.

Take a Look at These Less Common Melons
Browse this slideshow for more information on less common melon varieties you need to know about from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. See more here.

Welcome to Millsap Farm: A Classroom With Roots
While many worry about where we’ll find future growers, one Missouri farm is actively recruiting and training them. Springfield-based Millsap Farm’s Curtis and Sarah Millsap go beyond the usual school tours and invite or hire volunteers, apprentices, and interns to work and learn with them. See more here.

Vegetables by Bayer Promotes ‘Mind Your Melon' Podcast Series
With rising operation costs, changing weather, evolving crop conditions and fluctuating markets, farmers face a tremendous amount of stress every day – all while supporting their families and keeping the farm thriving for generations to come.

So, when problems pop up, they can quickly get overwhelming. To help educate farmers about mental health and the importance of taking proactive steps to mitigate their stress before it becomes overwhelming, Vegetables by Bayer is promoting a special podcast series, “Mind Your Melon,” to coincide with Mental Health Awareness month this May. See more here.

Bruising on Strawberry Leaves
Over the years I have seen dark spots on the foliage of strawberry plants like the ones in Figure 1. These spots can look pretty bad at times and are thought to possibly be the start of some disease such as angular leaf spot or anthracnose. The dark spots are usually on the upper or lower surface of the leaf, but at times can be found on both surfaces of a leaf, which can indicate a biotic source for the problem. These damaged areas of strawberry foliage can be very disconcerting when they appear as dark spots on the stems. See more here.

NIFA Helps Producers Meet High Demand for Blueberries
Blueberries are the second-most produced berries in the United States, after strawberries, according to USDA’s Economic Research Services. Over the past 10 years, the supply of fresh blueberries available for American consumption has increased fivefold.

As a result, U.S. production of blueberries has increased rapidly to meet year-round consumer demand. Land-grant universities across the nation are supporting blueberry producers working to meet this increase in demand by conducting blueberry research and outreach with funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). See more here.

Two Spotted Spider Mites and Cyclamen Mites Found in Strawberries
With the cooler weather we have had of late I was surprised to find low levels of mites in strawberry fields, with a few hot spots of mites in some high tunnels. There were two species of mites found: the two spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae and the cyclamen mite Phytonemus pallidus.

Overwintering female two spotted spider mites are an orangish-red (Fig. 1) and most of the mites that can be seen with a naked eye will appear reddish in color. Spider mites overwinter in the soil or leaf litter, although they may remain somewhat active in high tunnels through the winter. See more here.

Cold Effects on Early Transplanted Vegetables
The frost we had last week should remind growers that as you try to get a jump on the growing season, cold weather effects need to be considered. Over the years, many of our early plantings of summer vegetables have suffered because of cold damage and inadequate provisions to protect plants.

Earliest plantings of watermelons, summer squash, and tomatoes began last month. First transplanting of crops such as cantaloupes, peppers and eggplant will begin in early May. One of the characteristics that all of these crops have in common is that they are warm season vegetables that are sensitive to cold temperatures, both in the root zone and above ground. See more here.

Why Ag Businesses Need To Be Wary of Growing Ransomware Threats
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a notification warning agricultural cooperatives about a notable increase in ransomware attacks during the critical seasons of planting and harvest. To serve as proof of the real threat, research by NordLocker has shown that agribusiness was among the top industries targeted by ransomware gangs in 2020-2021. See more here.

Reduced Seed Set in Peas
A number of pea fields have had cold injury this year. One issue that could be a concern is early pea fields with reduced seed set. This is where pods develop but only one or two seeds are formed.
Reduced seed set occurs during flower development and pollination. Peas are self-pollinated. As the flower opens, the pollen from the anthers is released to the stigma of the pistil of the same flower. Once on the pollen is on the stigma, the pollen germinates and a pollen tube is formed and then grows down the style and when it reaches the ovule, the egg is fertilized by one of the two sperm cells, the other fuses with polar nuclei to become the seed endosperm. During the development of the pollen tube, plant hormones are released which are also essential for seed set. See more here.

Why Tomato Crops Today Are So Susceptible to Disease
Why are tomatoes so susceptible to disease? Of three possible answers — aggressive pathogens that specialize on tomato, the tomato plant itself, or the growing environment — it’s not the pathogens.

For example, early blight and late blight can be equally destructive on tomato and potato. Phytophthora blight and fruit rot is worse on pepper than tomato. Is there something about the tomato that makes it inherently susceptible, something medical doctors call a congenital defect? Or is it weather conditions during the growing season? The answer seems to be both. See more here.
Free Webinar: Social Responsibility in Fresh Produce
May 19 1 - 2 p.m. CST
Today’s consumer is growing more and more interested in issues surrounding social responsibility. They care about transparency, equity, environment and people. But what are the real issues causing them to vote with their wallets when it comes to purchase behavior and brand loyalty?
Join us as LeAnne Ruzzamenti of EFI and Chris Padgett, a consultant with Working Strategy and former Vice President/Head of Digital at Nestle USA, dive into the big issues that drive consumer consciousness and ultimately impact purchase behavior and brand loyalty. See more here.
To Fight Fusarium Wilt in Your Watermelon Crop, ID It Early
There are over five million fungal species that exist in the world but it takes only one to overwhelm watermelon disease management strategies and damage roots – Fusarium oxysporum f.sp niveum. Infecting only watermelon, this pathogen causes fusarium wilt. The most widespread and economically damaging watermelon disease in the Southeast, fusarium wilt can reduce yields by 40-80%[1], depending on the severity of the disease. And it can have a dire affect an operation’s bottom line. See more here.

Sales and Classified Ads
For Sale
Celli Spading Machine X40 160 Spader 
$2,500. Good used condition. It tills a 5' bed. Runs good, just used it this spring. Purchased new in 2011 original owner. Please call Dave at 814-852-8825 for more info. 5/7

Rain-Flo 2600 Plastic Mulch Layer.
Adjustable bed height, 3’-5’ adjustable width. Dual drip irrigation. Excellent condition, $3800 OBO. 215-906-7895. 4/16

Classified Ads and Sale Notices are are free for PVGA members. Email your information to us
Reminders and Coming Events
Retail Farm Market School
Retail Farm Market School events for farmers and food businesses:
Webinars (free)
Farmers Market Manager Forum 2022
The Farmers Market Manager Forum will hold its monthly meeting of 2022 on May 25 at 3pm. Make sure you register so you can receive the Zoom link! See here to register. To view the recording from the March 30 meeting click here.

The Farmers Market Manager Forum is a meeting in which managers can discuss issues and share best practices with one another for improving their markets. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions and to participate in open discussion This forum is held on the last Wednesday of every month. Support for this program comes from the Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA.

Young Grower Alliance Spring Tour
Thursday, May 12, 2022 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bloomfield Nursery, Roaring Spring
The Young Growers Alliance Spring Tour will visit two tree fruit operations in Blair and Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Tour participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the orchards, farm markets, and other parts of the operations during the visits. See more here.

Employment Law Seminar on Friday, May 13
Friday, May 13, 2022 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Spooky Nook Sports, 75 Champ Blvd. Manheim, PA 17545
Please join us for our 39th Annual Employment Law Seminar on Friday, May 13. Our Employment Practice Group will present on the latest employment law developments facing businesses.
Early Bird Rate (until April 14): $35.00 fee per person
Regular Rate (after April 14): $55.00 fee per person
Breakfast and lunch will be served. To register, see here.

Weekly Pest Management Teleconference Each Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, April 20 at 12:30 pm EST, Steve Bogash of Marrone Bio Innovations will be starting the third season of weekly pest management education teleconferences. These calls are for growers, retailers and crop consultants. The calls will last 30 minutes and will begin at 12:30 PM EST. The first 15 minutes will be reports on seasonal and active pest management challenges in vegetables and small fruit. Then, we will open the call to discussion and Q & A. The calls will be recorded and accessible thru the playback number below. Guest experts will often be on the calls with a schedule to follow soon. See more here.

Wholesale Buying and Selling Through Produce Auctions
Wholesale produce auctions are advantageous for wholesale buyers and growers alike. Participating can seem daunting to a first-timer, but we will show you how to successfully buy and sell at the auction. During Wholesale Buying and Selling Through Produce Auctions, join us for a tour of the auction facility; an informational session on the nuts and bolts of buying and selling at the auction; and a live demonstration led by an auctioneer.

Penn State Extension will be offering these tours on the following dates from 8:30 t0 10:00 a.m.:
June 7 – Leola Produce Auction
June 14 – Oxford Produce Auction
June 30 – Juniata Produce Auction
July 5 – Kutztown Produce Auction
See more here.