Evil Pepper Weevils; A New Container Growing System; and Healthy Yams

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Jen Polanz Subscribe
Inside Grower

Combating Pepper Weevils
New Container Growing Unit
Amazon: What's It To You?
Kemin Crop Technologies' New Addition
And Finally ... Healthy Yams
Finally, Part II


Combating Pepper Weevils (plus Mobile Education)

Sharing is caring, and the folks at NatureFresh are hoping that sharing will result in better results for everyone when it comes to taking down pepper weevils. One of the company’s IPM Managers (aka co-captain of the Bug Brigade) Tina Friesen, recently wrote a blog post on the NatureFresh site about dealing with pest, which has been a thorn in the side of Ontario greenhouse growers for a while now.

While they are working on it internally, it’s a larger problem impacting lots of growers. So now there’s a pepper weevil message board designed specifically for industry growers to share their thoughts and how they combat the pest. It’s free to register and view what others are doing, as well as contribute what you’re up to: http://weeviltalks.proboards.com/

Click the image for a video on the Greenhouse Education Center.

Stateside, NatureFresh has deployed its mobile Greenhouse Education Center again for a third year; it’s a 38-foot custom-built vehicle that shows exactly how the company grows its vegetables in a greenhouse. It’s making the rounds in Ohio right now, and should be pulling into the Heinen’s in my town (Mentor) this Saturday. The company employs college students to run the mobile GEC and act as brand ambassadors, and so far it’s been working to help steer consumers toward the NatureFresh brand.

“We are able to immediately impact consumers purchasing decisions at store level with the knowledge we share about how we grow greenhouse vegetables”, says Cole Burkholder, GEC Team Member and third year Environmental Science Major from Ohio State University. “The look on people’s faces when we explain the greenhouse growing process and they see the live plants with real fruit, it’s priceless, you kind of see that ‘a-ha’ moment in their eyes. We’ve even had customers show us their shopping carts when leaving to show us the tomatoes or bell peppers they have purchased because of our conversation.”

New Container Growing Unit

A Finnish company called Exsilio has created a redesigned container for cultivating lettuce greens and herbs, among other veggies, in urban environments called the EkoFARMER. And now the company wants to partner with restaurants, farmers, researchers and other users with their EkoFARMER product. According to Exsilio, the 13-meter long farming module (approximately 42.5 feet long) is a turn-key growing solution that “only require a location, water and electricity outlets.” Everything else can be controlled efficiently in order to produce optimal yield and flavor.

“EkoFARMER is an excellent option for businesses in need of salads, herbs, (edible) flowers or medicinal plants, for example,” says Thomas Tapio, CEO of Exsilio. “The social aspect of urban farming is also prominent. For this reason, our solution is suitable for associations wanting to earn some extra income, or societies wanting to offer meaningful activities for the unemployed, for example. This is an opportunity to create new micro-enterprises.”

The module can produce approximately 55,000 pots of salad per year, and the price will likely run slightly over 100,000 euros, or $113,000 U.S. dollars. Tapio says there also will be a leasing model for a monthly payment.

Click here to find out more.

Amazon & Whole Foods: What's In It For You?

By now everyone is pretty familiar with Amazon’s intent to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, which is probably the pocket change Jeff Bezos rustled up on the morning he made the decision (here’s a good recap from NPR). There’s no doubt the impacts of this deal will ripple through multiple retail channels. But what I’m curious about is the impact on suppliers.

My question to you is, will this impact you? And if so, how? Or, how will the eventual ripple effect change your business? Comment on the story, or email me at jpolanz@ballpublishing.com.

Kemin Crop Technologies' New Addition

Scientist Emily Fuerst has joined Kemin Crop Technologies in the role of research and development director. She will be responsible for leading the development of new and innovative crop technology solutions for pest control, defense systems and nutrient utilizations. She will work with IPM managers, plant health specialists, pest control advisers and business owners to understand their challenges.

“Emily is a respected scientist in her field and brings strong leadership to this new role at Kemin,” says Riaan van Dyk, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy.

She has been with the Kemin Discovery Research team since 2010, and has built her expertise in engineering microorganisms to produce molecules, enzyme development, encapsulation technologies and formulation chemistry. She played an influential role in the development of TetraCURB Concentrate, a rosemary oil-based treatment for two-spotted spider mites currently sold by Kemin Crop Technologies.

And Finally ... Healthy Yams

My colleague Ellen Wells passed along this story of farmers growing yams in Nigeria originally published on NPR. According to the story, a third of Nigerians depend on yams as a source of income, and yams are the No. 1 source of dietary calories for most Nigerians. However, farmers of late have been replanting seeds from bad yams, producing yet more bad yams. Now, yam specialists in the country are raising yams in aeroponic greenhouse settings to produce disease-free yam seeds for farmers there.

Read the full story here.

Finally, Part II

I'll be heading to Cultivate'17 in a week and a half, and I'd love to chat with growers, vendors and/or researchers there about indoor growing of all types. If you'd like to chat, email me and we'll set up a time!

Also, I'd love to run more research relevant to this space, so university types, I'm looking right at you. If you'd like to share what you're doing with the masses, please get in touch.

As always, feel free to email me at jpolanz@ballpublishing.com with comments, questions, news and views.

Until next time,

Jennifer Polanz
Inside Grower

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