Jul 30, 2021
Pomesters’ RidgeFest 2021

Demonstrations of equipment and cutting-edge technology complemented a cheery social setting as the Michigan Pomesters’ RidgeFest 2021 farm tour event was held Thursday afternoon, July 29.

Kicking off with lunch, the event included a demonstration of computer vision technologies and a demonstration of different sprayers. The wagons drove through orchards in the Grand Rapids area. Apple cider was in plentiful supply, and the event ended at Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market where apple grower Gunnar Nyblad & The Grizzly Boys performed music.

Here are some of the sights and details of the event.

Stephen Kloosterman, FGN Associate Editor

Lunch was at Thome Orchards in Comstock Park.
Lunch was at Thome Orchards in Comstock Park.

Taco truck

Lunch was at Thome Orchards in Comstock Park.

Denise Ruwersma
Michigan State University Extension educator Phil Schwallier presented his former staff member Denise Ruwersma with the Michigan Pomesters’ Fruit Person of the Year award. He described her as a “diamond” and told a hilarious tale about Ruwersma being told to measure tree trunks when it turned out the orchard had recently been fertilized with turkey manure. “Denise continued to measure the trunks,” he said. Ruwersma joked she’d had some “shitty” jobs but loved working with the apple growers. “I couldn’t think of better people,” she said.
Educational table
An educational table was set out with a demonstration of some iodine starch tests of apple ripeness.
This classic McCormick-Deering orchard tractor was at Thome Orchards.
Bernard J. Thome and Kristen Thome hosted the next stop on the RidgeFest farm tour.
Bernard J. Thome and Kristen Thome hosted the next stop on the RidgeFest farm tour.
Anna Wallis, an apple production specialist for Michigan State University, led a session with presentations from several companies with products and data analysis services for precision agriculture.
Anna Wallis, an apple production specialist for Michigan State University, led a session with presentations from several companies with products and data analysis services for precision agriculture.
MSUe remote sensing drone
A drone-mounted platform for remote sensing technology was demonstrated by staff of Bruno Basso’s laboratory at Michigan State University.
MSU remote sensing
A drone-mounted platform for remote sensing technology was demonstrated by staff of Bruno Basso’s laboratory at Michigan State University.

MSU remote sensing

MSU remote sensing
The drone pilot showed the crowd a tablet screen as the drone hovered above.
Farm Vision, a technology for visually measuring fruitlet growth rates and estimating crop level, gave a demonstration.
Farm Vision, a technology for visually measuring fruitlet growth rates and estimating crop level, gave a demonstration.
Farm Vision
The Farm Vision system gathers data via a phone camera set up in a handheld rig.
VIVID Machines
VIVID Machines gave a presentation on the use of multi-spectral imaging systems that gather data on orchards to inform precision growing decisions such as thinning. The cameras can be mounted and carried in a variety of ways.
Fruit Scout
Fruit Scout allows growers to take pictures of their tree trunks and fruit with a card nearby for reference, and upload them to a platform for analysis.
Rob Steffens Orchards hosted a stop on the RidgeFest tour where nine different sprayers were demonstrated.
Rob Steffens Orchards hosted a stop on the RidgeFest tour.
sprayer demonstration
Eight different sprayers were demonstrated with commentary from equipment dealers, manufacturers, or the growers who owned the equipment.
AG-Tec
AG-Tec
CURTEC C-3000
CURTEC C-3000
PRECISE Manufacturing Expt. 400-8
PRECISE Manufacturing Expt. 400-8
TURBO-MIST S30P500NTS
TURBO-MIST S30P500NTS
PROVIDE AGRO HSSCF2000
Blueline
PROVIDE AGRO HSSCF2000
PROVIDE AGRO HSSCF2000
MUNCKHOFF Varimas 3
MUNCKHOFF Varimas 3
PHIL BROWN WELDING Concept
PHIL BROWN WELDING Concept
Tractors
The sprayers were around afterward for closer inspection.

RidgeFest

Red Ridge Gala
This block of Red Ridge Gala was of interest on the tour.

Tags:


Current Issue

Driscoll’s pioneers indoor strawberries

First UF blackberry day shows growers challenges, opportunities

Digicrop views robotics, precision agriculture

Powdery mildew detector fights strawberry disease

Farm Market column: How to find, keep your farm’s CSA members

Notes From the Farm column: Pecan sprayers, fruit rot and increasing health issues

Ag Labor Review column: Building a better understanding of farm life

see all current issue »

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands

produceprocessingsm Organic Grower