Ozark Outdoors

Alternative Crops Field Day offers guidance for fruit and nut production

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Ranch elderberries produce in abundance, ripening in the late summer. Kelly McGowan will share details of her elderberry research during a field day on Sept. 21.

Ranch elderberries produce in abundance, ripening in the late summer. Kelly McGowan will share details of her elderberry research during a field day on Sept. 23, at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center near Mount Vernon.

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. – Researchers and horticulture specialists will offer seminars and walking tours of the alternative fruits and nuts  during a field day from 1-5:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 23, at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center

The Southwest Research Center is located four miles southwest of Mount Vernon at 14548 State Hwy H. From Interstate 44, take Exit 44 and go south on Highway H for two miles to the center.

The potential economic impact of alternative crops will be part of the discussion, including chestnut, chinkapin, hickory, pecans and black walnuts. Assistant Research Professor Andy Thomas will present information and lead discussions on these crops and how they are gaining momentum in Missouri. Dr. Mike Gold, associate director of the MU Center for Agroforestry, will highlight chestnut production and its economic potential.

Patrick Byers, MU Extension Horticulture Specialist will discuss growing pawpaws and persimmons in Missouri. These tree fruits offer a native choice in alternative fruit crops.

Interest in elderberry production also continues to increase. MU Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly McGowan is conducts research on elderberries at the Southwest Research Center. Her presentation about the crop will include possibilities for improved future production.

For more information, contact Patrick Byers at (417) 881-8909 or ByersPL@missouri.edu or Andrew Thomas at (417) 466-0065 or ThomasAL@missouri.edu.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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