At our most recent Driftless Food and Farm meeting in Prairie du Chien, break out groups analyzed opportunities for and obstacles to growth in a variety of production and food business sectors.Â In the next few days we will post brief reports from each of those groups.Â Â Â To start, the apple group’s insights are detailed below.
We would like to encourage your participation in continuing conversations, please step forward by posting a comment below or by emailing us.Â If you have suggestions on how we can proceed please don’t hesitate to share them.
Apples and Other Fruit
The fruit break-out group began by noting that the biggest opportunities for growth result from the impressive number of knowledgeable, environmentally conscious, and well-connected apple growers in the region and the expansion of other fruit crops in recent years. Â Just as important, due to the breadth of apple consumption, there potentially exists a virtually unlimited demand for local product, assuming we can organize and build a bridge to markets in the region.Â Additional gains can be made through expansion of value added product lines.
- How do we find ways to organize that would allow penetration into markets otherwise unavailable to individual small and medium-sized growers?
- How doe we overcome constraints of a short harvest season?Â Would adding value-added products to the equation have further benefits?
- Which existing networks and resources can help enhance education of both growers and large consumers to stimulate growth of both supply and demand?