Report on the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia Field Day

Thursday 20 July 2023

This week ATTTA was pleased to attend the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia (WBPANS) Field Day held in Caledonia. The event is held annually for Nova Scotia blueberry growers and provides an opportunity for networking and education. This year’s event was hosted by the Van Dyk family. In this week’s blog, we will share some of the highlights from the event.

Report on the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia Field Day

The event started at 8:30 am on July 18th, where there were more than 100 people in attendance. Most people took advantage of the morning to attend the trade show.  Perennia and the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture had a joint exhibit at the trade show. Our team had a great time talking to blueberry growers and answering any question they had. We had many important discussions about wild blueberry diseases, the Farm Weather Station Program, impacts of climate on blueberry production, and the pollination needs of blueberry growers. There were many other trade show exhibitors present, including: BASF Canada Inc., Cavendish Agri-Services Inc., and Doug Bragg Enterprises, just to name a few.

Perennia wild blueberry specialist Hugh Lyu and agriculture research technician Sarah Schaefer at the WBPANS Field Day Trade Show.

In the late morning there was a tour of a wild blueberry field near Caledonia. During the tour Dr. Scott White (Dalhousie University) spent time explaining how to identify an invasive plant that impacts wild blueberry production known as glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus). On the tour, the Van Dyk family showed us one of their wild blueberry fields and explained various aspects of the field including blueberry growth, fencing, and pollination. The Van Dyk family is currently farming 1000 acres of blueberry fields. They also have their own beekeeping operation with 900 hives, enough to pollinate each field with 3 hives per acre.

Prior to lunch the WBPANS president, David Harrison, welcomed everyone to the event. Kim Masland, MLA for Queens County, then gave a provincial update. Next the WBPANS executive director, Peter Burgess, gave an association update. Finally, the Perennia wild blueberry specialist, Hugh Lyu, gave an industry update.

In the afternoon there was a tour of the Van Dykes processing plant. On the tour attendees got to learn about blueberries being dried, and watch juice being bottled. Additionally, attendees got to sample some Van Dyke products and they got to see other products that use Van Dyke products as a key component.

Several sponsors made this event possible, including: Adama Canada Ltd., Cavendish Agri-Services Inc., Eastern Drainage, and Truro Agromart Ltd. Thank you to the Van Dyke family for generously hosting the event. Finally, thank you to the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia for organizing the event, and to everyone who participated. We look forward to attending next year!

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