Nov 8, 2021
Emerging technology, apple sessions highlight Great Lakes EXPO educational slate

Returning to an in-person event in December, the 2021 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO brings a chance to gather once again for signature educational sessions. Two of the upcoming highlights will focus on technology in fruit production and the always-popular apple sessions.

In the “Fruit Production” sessions, Michael Reinke, an integrated pest management educator with Michigan State University (MSU), will be highlighting emerging technologies for fruit growers. Reinke says that although there will be some overlap with growers of all kinds, the session will be specifically tailored toward mainstream commercial fruit growers.

“We’re going to cover emerging technologies that growers have been talking about on their farms, whether that means improving production, improving sustainability, or helping save them some money in the field,” Reinke said. “The session will really help growers to think about how to best incorporate technology into their field or farming system — from how it changes your insurance and accounting systems to what it means for the rest of your system.”

Anna Wallis, an Extension specialist in apple production with MSU, is co-coordinating the “Apple I” and “Apple II” sessions, which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon at the 2021 EXPO. Boasting a “long history” of providing information on pest management and horticulture to commercial apple producers, the sessions will feature a panel of experts with a wide range of experience in the field.

“(For 2021), we’ve invited speakers from not only MSU, but all across the country, to speak on topics we’ve heard about from growers all year,” Wallis said. “We intend for everyone who comes to these sessions to take something away that will improve the production and profitability of their farm.”

The apple session panels include Bernardita Sallato, from Washington State University, who will speak on nutrient management with a focus on nitrogen management, as well as Todd Einhorn, from MSU, who will be presenting his latest work on several research projects related to crop load management and thinning.

When it comes to returning to an in-person event for Reinke, he says it means a return to what he finds to be one of the biggest benefits of the EXPO — the networking within the sessions themselves.

“The Great Lakes EXPO has the most diverse set of information available, and the best networking opportunities — whether with growers or with professionals, both industry and Extension.” Reinke said.

For Wallis, it’s the connections and ideas that come from the EXPO, both personally and professionally.

“The EXPO is a great place to showcase some of the most exciting work and perspectives,” Wallis said. “But more than that, it’s a fun event for growers to connect with people and ideas that will benefit their farm in so many ways.”

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO is excited to welcome attendees back to Grand Rapids in December!

After shifting to a fully virtual format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EXPO is planning a fully in-person event, with every aspect of the event that attendees and exhibitors have come to know and love — from the trade show floor to the signature educational sessions.

The 2021 EXPO is set for Dec. 7-9, and registration is open now. For information on the 2021 EXPO, registration and educational session details and more, visit

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