New Strawberry Disease in Ohio?

A new strawberry disease has been found in Indiana and researchers are looking for samples to determine the extent of the problem. The disease, caused by a species of the fungus Neopestaltiopsis, has been reported in several southeastern states and other countries where it causes leafspots, fruit spots and a plant decline. In Indiana, the disease has been reported to cause a leafspot (Figure 1) and a plant decline. This disease resembles Phomopsis and upon further investigation may ultimately turn out to be Phomopsis.

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Register now-Foodpreneur School Coaching Sessions

Foodpreneur Coaching: Crafting a Blueprint to Grow Your Food and Farm Business

 The CFAES Center for Cooperatives is working to help businesses keep things moving forward in these difficult times. Marketing is a key aspect to maintaining or growing any business, including food and farm businesses.

The CFAES Center for Cooperatives, OSU Extension Direct Food & Agricultural Marketing Team, and Ohio Farm Bureau in Ross, Hocking, Fairfield, and Pickaway counties are hosting a virtual interactive experience for small and medium food entrepreneurs who are eager to grow their businesses. Foodpreneur School Coaching will give attendees an opportunity to engage with experts in marketing and promoting their local food and farm products, and more, to help them learn strategies to meet their growth goals. This educational opportunity will cover marketing locally raised meat, increasing produce sales, and promoting local food and farm retail products.

Foodpreneur School Coaching sessions will all be held online and will be offered over a span of three weeks with each session held on a Tuesday evening. The cost to attend the Foodpreneur School Coaching is $20 per session for Farm Bureau members, and $25 per session for non-Farm Bureau members. There is a separate registration for each session. We encourage early registration; each session will have a limited number of seats available. To learn more, go to https://cooperatives.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/events or see the postcard below and attached.

To register for the Foodpreneur School Coaching you can go to go.osu.edu/foodschool2020.

For additional information you may contact Charissa Gardner at gardner.1148@osu.edu.

FARMERS AND FOOD GROUPS INNOVATE TO KEEP OPERATIONS VIABLE AS THE CORONAVIRUS SPREADS

FARMERS WHO SELL DIRECTLY TO CUSTOMERS AT FARMERS’ MARKETS AND THROUGH CSAS ARE COMING UP WITH NOVEL SOLUTIONS AT BREAKNECK SPEED TO KEEP THEIR CUSTOMERS FED AND THEIR OPERATIONS VIABLE.

By : Leah Douglas

For Jody Osmund, who runs Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm with his partner, Beth, in Ottawa, Illinois, the shuttering of public spaces to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus presents a significant challenge. He typically distributes his farm shares at brewery taprooms around the Chicago area, which allows him to share a pint with customers while supporting local businesses. So how should he proceed when many bars and restaurants are closed, and heath guidelines demand that people keep their distance?

Enter the pool noodle.

Osmund used the noodle to mark out a safe distance between him and the members of his community-supported agriculture program at this week’s distribution site. “I’d take their name and get their CSA share. Then [I] would set it down for them and back away before they would pick it up,” he described via email. “It was a little awkward, but the pool noodle was disarming and brought a little levity.”

As the spread of the coronavirus causes many cities to curtail public gatherings, farmers who sell directly to customers at farmers’ markets and through CSAs are coming up with novel solutions at breakneck speed to keep their customers fed and their operations viable.

Some food distribution groups are even rethinking their entire delivery model, trying to ensure that farmers still have a market and customers still have access to fresh food.

Their adaptations include, of course, improving sanitary practices by frequently washing hands and offering sanitizer to customers. Farmers at markets are wearing gloves, handling produce themselves rather than having shoppers select items, and eliminating sampling. Those who distribute CSA shares are pre-bagging and bringing them to customers’ cars or operating in the parking lots of the closed business or churches where they would otherwise distribute.

Some organizations are piloting home delivery for the first time, as many shoppers are self-isolating or quarantined at home. Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Market Mobile program typically delivers wholesale orders of local produce and other farm goods to restaurants and universities across the state. But this week, the group rolled out a new system that allowed individual households to place orders online and have food dropped off right at their door. Continue reading