SAVE THE DATE AT ASTA:
Summer Conference & Trials Recap
Our conference in Boise was well attended and
action-packed! We toured a wide range of locations and facilities to see
seeds being produced, conditioned, clean, tested and finished and at the
same time had plenty of opportunity to network with each other and enjoy
the "big little city." of Boise and its numerous amenities.
At our opening evening reception, everybody had a great time greeting old friends and meeting new ones. Chris Faull, in charge of local arrangements, announced the lineup of events and we all enjoyed the local beverages, both at the hotel and later at the many watering holes along the main drag nearby.
The next morning began with our HGSA summer membership meeting. Afterward we quickly loaded up the bus to Syngenta for a brief tour of their impressive seed testing facilities. Then it was into the field for the beautifully laid out field of HGSA trials. Syngenta did a masterful job of planting, tending and identifying all the member trial varieties and there was a lot to see and evaluate. It was hard to get everyone back on the bus.
Then on to Crookham's Sweet Corn Nursery to review the second planting of our HGSA trials which they graciously hosted. Once again, our trials had been planted with real precision and care to details and everyone spent another happy hour comparing and evaluating both our own companies' varieties and new varieties from participating seed producers. Finally Crookham's popcorn breeder Dennis Demshar gave us a fascinating mini lecture/ demo on popcorn varieties along with a taste test.
Lunch, hosted by Crookham, was at the Saint Chapelle
winery in the Snake River Valley, a beautiful spot where we all enjoyed
a luxurious buffet and wine tasting at outdoor tables under the trees
overlooking bountiful apple orchards
Then on to Melba, Idaho, where we had a personalized tour of Charter Packaging by owner and longtime seedsman, Gene Hayes.
Our evening, hosted by Wild West Seed and Syngenta, began with fine wine and beer tasting at Sawtooth winery with a memorable dinner to follow, all served alfresco on a very scenic outlook at this well appointed local winery.
Friday morning after breakfast, we loaded up for a
unique opportunity for an extensive guided tour of Nunheim' s huge,
state-of-the-art seed cleaning, conditioning and packaging facility. (No
pictures of it here as they were verboten) Most of us had never seen
such a big, high tech, high budget operation and it was both eye-opening
Back to Boise at the state capital's Department of Agriculture for a slideshow on agriculture in Idaho and a good session about phyto sanitary requirements. Just a block away, we walked over to see the fine community garden sponsored by Seminis. Then on to the relatively new and very innovative Idaho Botanical Garden with its multiple themed gardens, extensive public outreach and unique setting next to an archaic women's prison. Our brief tour was energy charged since that garden was setting up for a big rock concert that night this is one Botanic Garden that really believes in drawing in and involving the public!
On to the handsome and historic old Bishops House for our featured speaker, Eric Mader from the Xerxes society, who kept us riveted to our seats with his knowledgeable and very inspiring lecture/slideshow about pollinators and flowers and their interactions. After some lively questions and answers, we moved upstairs for really convivial final wine and beer reception hosted by Seeds by Design.
The many restaurants in downtown Boise near our hotel
provided fine places to stroll and meet for dinner that night after the
Conference officially closed. Those attendees who took the the optional
tour the next morning got to enjoy the colorful, varied and immense
street and farmers market in downtown Boise followed by lunch at the
Peaceful Belly organic farm just about a perfect morning.
See you in Vermont for next year's