At the venerable Great Lakes Expo, which took place Dec. 7 – 9 in Grand Rapids, MI, growers of fruits and vegetables, plus those involved in farm markets, met up in person for education, networking and investment.

Over three days, the program includes sessions on fruit crops, vegetable crops, other specialty crops, greenhouse crop production and marketing, farm marketing ideas and operations, farmers markets and organic production and marketing. There were also sessions covering a diversity of general interest topics, including food safety and labor.

The trade show featured some of the latest and greatest in farm technology as well as many opportunities to connect with new customers.

Keep an eye on future editions of Country Folks Grower for articles from the 2021 Great Lakes Expo!

Photos by Joan Kark-Wren

National Cherry Queen Allie Grazlano and Dr. Gary Kaberle visited with exhibitors and attendees during the show.

The 2022 Michigan Apple Queen is Aubrey Rasch, who represents Rasch Family Orchards. “I am excited for this experience in the upcoming year,” she said. She was crowned by the previous year’s Apple Queen, Victoria Wittenbach.

Runner-up Reaghan Dolphin was also crowned. The contestants had to come from apple-growing backgrounds, submit essays and participate in interviews to be considered for the title.

Todd Miller and Nelson Enocks of Head Honchos were on hand to help attendees with their labor needs.

Rob Roselli and Rhonda Sigmon spoke with attendees on how Farmer’s Choice can help with their value-added sales.

Rockford sales reps were busy helping customers with their packaging needs.

The OESCO booth was busy throughout the show as attendees looked for tools and information needed for the upcoming season.

Jered Birkbeck and Dan Karrar from Herbruck’s talk with visitors about their organic poultry fertilizer.

The Rupp booth was busy as attendees looked to fill their seed needs for spring.

Connie Thomas talks with an attendee on sprayer heads available from Thomas Bros Equipment.

Michael Kilpatrick from Farm on Central and Small Farm University presented on labor, customers and direct sales.

Every grower has specific needs and Phil Miller with The Blossom Cinch can work with every size orchard or enthusiast to help meet their needs.

Country Folks Grower team members Courtney,  Joan,  Dan and  Andy take advantage of a photo op.