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. In the next few days we will post brief reports from each of those groups. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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?