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Farmers Markets, Crop Protection, Partners in Science

Posted by | April 2, 2008

Farmers Market How-to Manual

With the start of spring, fresh food enthusiasts are anticipating their first visit of the year to one of Washington’s 120 farmers markets. With today’s increasingly competitive food and agricultural markets, more farmers are turning to direct market sales at rural, city and neighborhood farmers markets.

Market board members and market managers are using a new tool this year to boost farmers’ sales and nurture consumer interest to support a successful 2008 season for farmers markets.

In cooperation with the Washington State University Small Farms Program, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is distributing a 90-page Washington State Farmers Market Manual that has everything one needs to know to run a successful farmers market. The collaborative project included support from members of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, WSU and other university specialists, market managers and outside experts.

“It’s a ‘how to’ manual that’s suitable for market managers, board members and community members interested in improving their farmers market or starting a new market,” said Marcy Ostrom, director of the WSU Small Farms Program. “We received lots of requests to package this sort of information into a useful handbook.”

The manual elaborates a step-by-step process for establishing a new farmers market, best market management practices for existing markets and a strategic planning process to strengthen existing markets.

Download your copy of the Washington State Farmers Market Manual here:

For a list of farmers markets throughout Washington, go to the Washington State Farmers Market Association Web site:

The new Washington State Farmers Market Manual gives step-by-step advice on starting and running a farmers market.

The new Washington State Farmers Market Manual gives step-by-step advice on starting and running a farmers market.

New Online Tools for Tree Fruit Growers

Just in time for the 2008 growing season comes a new version of an old friend, “Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits in Washington.” What’s new with this standard reference work that has been in print since 1946? It’s now online.

“More and more, we hear from Washington producers that they want cutting-edge tools, such as easily accessible Web sites, in order to stay current with scientific progress and regulatory changes,” said Jay Brunner, director of WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee.

The “Crop Protection Guide” (both print and Web) is a synthesis of crop protection research conducted by WSU researchers specifically for Washington conditions. In addition, a wealth of useful information on pesticide issues is provided with help from the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

The “Crop Protection Guide” is part of a new suite of online tools developed by WSU researchers and their industry partners for growers. Another valuable new tool is the online version of “Orchard Pest Management.”

“Orchard Pest Management: A Resource Guide for the Pacific Northwest” was originally published in 1993 by the Good Fruit Grower. The book gathered in one place all the life histories, descriptions, and management recommendations of both pests and beneficial insects important in tree fruit production in the region, information which had previously been scattered through dozens of WSU Extension Bulletins.

The Web site contains all the information in the 1993 book, but with many new and enhanced features: new articles on brown mite, prionus root borers, weevils, apple leafcurling midge, and apple mealybug; many revised, expanded or updated articles; as well as more than 400 new insect and damage photos, in a new section of the site called the “Photo Gallery.” The Web site draws on the expertise of over 45 authors from around the region.

“The state of the art of crop protection is changing fast enough that we wanted to be able to present current information in a timely way without having to go to the time and expense of tradition printed guides,” said entomologist Betsy Beers. Beers led the editorial team that created the new sites.

To access the Orchard Pest Management Web site, please visit:

To access the Crop Protection Guide for Tree Fruits, please visit:

Two new Web sites provide new versions of venerable tools for tree fruit growers.

Two new Web sites provide new versions of venerable tools for tree fruit growers.

Partners in Science

WSU genomicist Amit Dhingra and Pullman High School agriscience teacher Tina DaVault have received a $15,000 Partners in Science grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The competitive grant will enable DaVault and several of her students to conduct Rosaceae genomics research in Dhingra’s lab for two summers. In turn, DaVault will take what she learns in Dhingra’s lab back to her Pullman High School classes, where she will train students in cutting-edge lab techniques.

The Rosaceae family includes Washington’s largest crop–apples–as well as cherries, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, roses, and nuts. In terms of economic volume, Rosaceae is the third most important family in the U.S. and other temperate regions of the world. Its aggregate wholesale value in the United States is more than $8 billion, representing 8.5 percent of total crop production value in the United States in 2006.

“This is a great opportunity for students,” said DaVault. “It’s great to be able to expose students to university research.

“The equipment involved is pretty much general lab equipment. It’s the techniques that have evolved so rapidly that we need to stay current in order to give our students the skills they need to succeed,” she added.

Some of DaVault’s students will have the opportunity to intern in Dhingra’s lab.

“In addition to academics, we also teach job skills. We’ve place high school students as interns in WSU labs, where they continue to work through college and sometimes beyond,” DaVault said.

“I’m passionate about getting young people involved in science,” said Dhingra, whose research includes the sequencing of the Golden Delicious apple genome. “I really the admire the energy and creativity high school students can bring to research. Everyone benefits from partnerships like this.”

For more information about genomics at WSU, please visit:

Tina DaVault and Amit Dhingra are partnering to bring genomics to high school students.

Tina DaVault and Amit Dhingra are partnering to bring genomics to high school students.