2024 Regional Conferences

August 6
TOURS

Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens
10371 Rainey Rd. Litchfield, Michigan

August 7, 2024
EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS

Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens

Space is limited. Don’t wait to register!

Maximum number of attendees: 100

Please note that Regional Conferences will not be recorded.

Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens

Emily Wildt of Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, Kelly Meringolo of InFlora Cut Flowers, and Scott Rusch of InFlora Cut Flowers.

Last year, more than 1,500 people visited the Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens. Predominantly from the Midwest, this collection of professionals is a representative cross-section of the horticulture industry including greenhouse owners, landscape designers and professionals, industry brokerages and sales representatives, trade writers, and most importantly, home gardeners.

For many years, the Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens have been a destination for the horticulture industry and this year is no different. In addition to expanding every aspect of our comparison trials (row, hanging basket, and large container) we are continually expanding our trial services to include additional types of research and genetic evaluation. The Trials are an extension of Raker-Roberta’s in-house Research & Development Team. The Team routinely conducts evaluation/trial projects focusing on internal production and breeder/university research.

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants have been conducting outdoor trials since 1991. In 2003 R2 became a member of the Michigan Garden Plant Tour. In 2021 Raker-Roberta’s trialed a small number of cut flower varieties, and now has expanded to an acre of cuts in 2024, boasting 35 rows with an estimated 94 different varieties.

Attendees will tour eight different stops throughout these expansive facilities, ranging across different crops and meeting representatives from different cut flower suppliers such as InFlora Cut Flowers, Raker-Roberta’s, Sakata, Syngenta, PanAmerican Seed, Danziger, Evanthia, and more. This full day will provide a wealth of information about specific crops directly from the responsible vendor.

About Your Hosts and Conference Sponsors

Kelly Meringolo of InFlora Cut Flowers has 25+ years of supply chain and distribution experience focusing on seed, cuttings, plugs, liners, tissue culture and bulbs for cut flower production. She works with sources domestically and abroad to bring innovative cut flower products and solutions to North American cut flower growers.

Scott Rusch is the Director of Business Development at Express Seed Company and Director of InFlora Cut Flowers, their cut flower division. A member of the Greenhouse Product News’ Forty Under Forty List, Scott has an extensive background in the floriculture industry. He strives to cultivate and nurture strategic relationships with growers and breeders to develop supply chain and cultural recommendations to help ensure their success.

Emily Wildt has a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture Science from Michigan State University. Over the past 19 years, she has worked in many facets of the Horticulture industry, from nursery/greenhouse management, wholesale production, retail Garden centers, to brokerage sales. A team member of Raker-Roberta’s since 2020, her role within the company now includes Trial Gardens Director and program development for Garden Mums and Cut flowers.

 

 


DAY ONE: August 6

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

Emily Wildt, Raker’s Roberta’s Young Plants
Scott Rusch, InFlora Cut Flowers
Kelly Meringolo, InFlora Cut Flowers
Amanda Cook, Cook’s Market
ASCFG North and Central Regional Director
Steve Crone,
ASCFG Executive Director

9:00 a.m. – Noon

Tour

Attendees will split into smaller groups and will tour eight different stops throughout these expansive facilities, ranging across different crops and meeting representatives from different cut flower suppliers such as InFlora Cut Flowers, Raker-Roberta’s, Sakata, Syngenta, PanAmerican Seed, Danziger, Evanthia, and more. This full day will provide a wealth of information about specific crops directly from the responsible vendor.

1. Dahlias
2. Zinnia & Scabiosa
3. Lisianthus
4. Snapdragons & Dianthus
5. Snapdragon Industry Comparison
6. Raker Cut Flower Trial Open Area
7. Greenhouse Tour
8. Sunflower

Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Lunch included

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tour

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Mocktails and Mingle

Sponsored by:


DAY TWO: August 7

9:00 – 9:50 a.m.

Starting Crops for Cut Flower Farmers

Jarvis Green of Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants

This session will provide an overview of when and how Raker-Roberta’s starts their crops. The presentation will include what Raker’s does from sowing, germination, early stage growing, late stage growing, fertilizer, and gapping up/replugging. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions.

About Jarvis Green

Jarvis Green is a Quality Manager at C. Raker & Sons Inc. During his 16-year tenure, Jarvis participated in the company’s evolution from plug-based sales to include liner, finished, and direct to consumer programs. He frequently volunteers his time to speak with local K-12 students, as well as college students, promoting the horticulture industry at career fairs and other events.

 

 

10:00 – 10:50 a.m.

Ordering and Shipping Your Plants

Kelly Meringolo of InFlora Cut Flowers and Express Seed Company

In this session, Kelly will review common plug and liner sizes for different crops and address the required lead times for placing orders for plugs and seeds. Lastly, she will provide information on shipment zones with both truck and box delivery options before sharing the times of year new programs and pricing become available. While some of this information will be specific to InFlora Cut Flowers, attendees can expect similar practices and processes with other industry partners and suppliers.

About Kelly Meringolo

Kelly Meringolo of InFlora Cut Flowers has 25+ years of supply chain and distribution experience focusing on seed, cuttings, plugs, liners, tissue culture and bulbs for cut flower production. She works with sources domestically and abroad to bring innovative cut flower products and solutions to North American cut flower growers.

 

 

11:00 – 11:50 a.m.

You Have the Plants. Now What?

Scott Rusch of InFlora Cut Flowers

In this session, Scott will provide an overview of best practices for receiving plugs and checking for quality and noting any issues right away. He will also discuss common processes like watering in, providing fertilizer, holding if needed, and how to transplant on time to avoid rootbound crops. Lastly, and if time permits, Scott will provide an overview of postharvest handling for these crops.

About Scott Rusch

Scott Rusch is the Director of Business Development at Express Seed Company and Director of InFlora Cut Flowers, their cut flower division. A member of the Greenhouse Product News’ Forty Under Forty List, Scott has an extensive background in the floriculture industry. He strives to cultivate and nurture strategic relationships with growers and breeders to develop supply chain and cultural recommendations to help ensure their success.

 

 

Noon – 1:00 p.m.

Lunch included

1:00 – 1:50 p.m.

Integrated Pest Management Best Practices

Dr. Raymond Cloyd of Kansas State University

In this session, Dr. Cloyd is providing an overview of integrated pest management practices when starting seeds and transplanting crops. He will cover what to watch for and how to remedy common issues through biological and non-chemical means of controls.

About Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Professor Raymond Cloyd of Kansas State University is the extension specialist in horticultural entomology for the state of Kansas with a major clientele that includes homeowners, master gardeners, and professional and commercial operators. His research interests are associated with pest management/plant protection, biological control, plant-insect interactions, and non-chemical means of dealing with insect and mite pests.

 

 

2:00 – 2:50 p.m.

Greenhouse Growing Best Practices

Dr. Roberto Lopez of Michigan State University

Associate Professor Roberto Lopez of Michigan State University is a specialist on greenhouse growing environments. In this session, Dr. Lopez will provide an overview of best practices for greenhouse growing with a focus on how to prevent soil borne illnesses.

About Dr. Roberto Lopez

Associate Professor Roberto Lopez of Michigan State University is a specialist on greenhouse growing environments. His research focuses on young specialty (floriculture, leafy greens, and herbs) crop propagation and finish plant production in greenhouses, growth rooms/containers, warehouse-based plant factories, and vertical farms with a primary goal of understanding how environmental factors (e.g., light, temperature, and more) affect these crops.

 

 

3:00 – 3:50 p.m.

Floral Designs for Specific Markets

Adam & Jennifer O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm

The goal of this session is for new farmer florists to understand how to create floral designs for different markets and venues. Adam and Jenn of PepperHarrow Farm will demonstrate their process for developing a floral design for a specific market and what materials are needed to fulfill that design at scale.

About Adam and Jennifer O'Neal

Adam and Jenn O’Neal cultivate fresh flowers at PepperHarrow, a boutique flower farm located in Winterset, Iowa. The 20 acre farm is cozied among the historic covered bridges and gorgeous rolling hills of Madison County, conveniently located 30 minutes southwest of Des Moines. Our farm is perched on the crest of a beautiful plateau above the Middle River Valley, known for its rich history, including ties to the teaching of botanical healing/medicinal plants by local healer, Thankful Robbins, to George Washington Carver. We strive to bring fresh, beautiful blooms and quality products produced on our small farm, locally and nationwide.

 

 

4:00 – 4:50 p.m.

Spreadsheet Templates to Grow Your Flower Business

Emily Patrick of Carolina Flowers

Planning a farm is so much more than browsing seed catalogs. In order to know what to grow, how much to grow, when to plant and what to expect financially, you need to make a plan! Spreadsheets are a wonderful tool to help collect and analyze data, build a crop plan, build floral recipes and harvest lists, and discover answers to questions you may have about your business. In this class, we’ll review some easy templates and essential spreadsheet skills, including filters and pivot tables.

About Emily Patrick

Emily Patrick is the owner of Carolina Flowers, a 5-acre farm and floristry business in Asheville, NC. Started as one woman with a shovel in 2016, Carolina Flowers has grown into a profitable flower enterprise with a crew of about a dozen people across the business, which is equal parts farm and florist. Almost everything that’s grown on the farm is sold through value-added specialty designs for weddings, events and everyday enjoyment. Emily loves building systems, whether for planting, event load in, or P&L analysis. When she’s not working for Carolina Flowers, she likes to garden.

 

 


Hotel Recommedations

Area Hotels

Albion:
ASCFG Room Block at this hotel. Follow the link below.
Courtyard by Marriott Albion

200 S Superior Street
Albion, MI 49224
(517) 629-8520

Monday, August 5, 2024 – Thursday, August 8, 2024
Last Day to Book: Monday, July 8, 2024:
139 USD per night
Book your group rate for Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

Jonesville/Hillside Area:
The Munro House B&B
Bed and Breakfast
202 Maumee St.
Jonesville, MI 49250
800-320-3792
www.munrohouse.com

Days Inn
Hotel
3241 W. Carleton Rd.
Hillsdale, MI 49242
517-439-3297
www.daysinn.com

The Rooms At Grayfield
Bed and Breakfast
310 W. Chicago St.
Jonesville, MI 49250
517-849-9580
www.roomsatgrayfield.com

Coldwater:
Holiday Inn Express
Hotel
630 E. Chicago St.
Coldwater, MI 49036
517-279-0900
www.hiexpress.com

Hampton Inn
Hotel
391 N. Willowbrook Rd.
Coldwater, MI 49036
517-279-9800
www.hamptoninn.com

Comfort Inn and Suites
Hotel
100 Orleans Blvd.
Coldwater, MI 49036
517-278-2017
www.choicehotels.com

Member Priority Registration opens at noon on April 16 through April 30.

Please note, Regional Conferences will not be recorded and space is limited. Don’t wait to register!


Registration Information

August 6 – $150
August 7 – $225
August 6 and 7 – $350


Cancellation Policy

Due to the limited space at regional conferences, we do not offer refunds.
Contact us in case of emergency to inquire about a waiting list and your spot may be transferable. No guarantees.

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