There are typically three MNFGA meetings held each year during spring, summer, and fall. In 2020, we had planned to have a separate pruning class and a separate grafting class as well as the three meetings. Meetings vary in location and specific content but generally include a potluck, fundraising auction and a tour when held at a member’s farm. Spring meetings are usually at the MSU East Lansing Campus. Dates, locations, and meeting details will be posted when available.
2020 Meetings & Events:
MNFGA Booth at the Lansing Home & Garden Show…Cancelled
MNFGA had a display booth set up at the 2020 Lansing Home & Garden Show in the Pavilion on the Michigan State University south campus in East Lansing. The show was cancelled 4 1/2 hours prior to its Thursday opening due to COVID-19.
We had photos of nuts and fruits that we grow in Michigan and sample nuts for visitors to crack and taste. We usually display at least two different nut crackers (way better than a hammer and a rock) for you to try and this year had an electric-powered nut cracker. We had black walnuts (it is surprising how many people have never eaten them or even know they are edible!), English walnuts, butternuts, chestnuts and hazelnuts…all grown in Michigan. It would be awesome to sample the many minor fruits that the members grow, but food safety rules make it a challenge for a venue like this. To sample Michigan-grown fruits, please plan to attend an MNFGA Meeting. Guests are always welcome and are admitted free of charge (we think you will like what you see and want to become a member). The potluck meals have several member-grown-and-prepared fruits either as fresh fruit or as part of a dish.
We had applications for membership at the booth. Membership is $8.00 per year for an individual or $11.00 for a family and is good until the Spring Meeting in 2021 (2021 meeting day and location TBD).
Tree Pruning Class 2020…Cancelled
MNFGA planned a tree pruning class on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at MSU’s Tollgate Farm in Novi. The class was cancelled due to COVID-19. The Novi facility is sponsoring an online pruning class in its place. You can check their website for details…pizza not included, as it was for the March 21, 2020 planned event!
Grafting Class for Lowell Homeschoolers…Cancelled
MNFGA planned to host a grafting class for a group of Lowell, MI area homeschool students on Thursday, April 2, 2020. This too has been cancelled. The root stock for grafting remains on order, so we will be potting these trees and they will be super ready for a fantastic 2021 grafting class. Stay tuned.
MNFGA Spring 2020 Meeting & Scion Exchange…Cancelled.
When it was going to be: Saturday, April 18, 2020, 10 am (business meeting), 11: 00 speaker, 12:00 lunch, Q&A period, auction and scion exchange after lunch
Where it was going to be: MSU Campus, Auditorium, Ag Engineering Building, 524 S Shaw Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824
Speakers were going to be: Marc Boone: Growing Pawpaws in Michigan and an MSU Extension person talking about pesticides and herbicides for home use
Auction: fund raiser. If you had something nut or fruit tree related and wanted to donate it to the auction, please save it, if you can, for the Summer Meeting. If you do not bring something for the auction (or if you do!), you are most welcome to participate by bidding for auction items. Funds raised support MNFGA, help keep our membership costs reasonable and get the highest bidders some great items.
Scion Exchange was going to be great: If you have an unpatented variety of nut or fruit tree that you like, possibly you were going to donate some scions from it to the scion exchange? ALL scions needed to be individually labelled: once a scion is separated from its package, it cannot be identified without DNA testing (not available here!). If you are looking for a particular scion, please leave a message with MichiganNutGrower@gmail.com or post it on the MNFGA Facebook page. A member with that variety might then bring some to share in 2021. Likewise, if you have any questions about collecting or storing scions, please contact MNFGA. Due to Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp (ACGW) presence in Michigan, please do NOT bring any chestnut scions or trees to the meeting. If you bring scions to the meeting, please look for the scion exchange room when you arrive and check in with Marc Boone. The 2021 scion exchange will be free and will be a great way to obtain some scions for the 2021 grafting class (see below for more information).
Potluck Lunch: Definitely did not happen this year.
MNFGA 2020 Grafting Class – Limited Class Size…Cancelled.
When it was going to be: Saturday, May 2, 202, 10:00 am to about 3:00 pm.
Where we were planning to have it: MSU Ag Engineering/Ag Bio Research Building on the MSU campus in East Lansing.
What: Grafting 101 class time and then hands-on grafting of apple, pear, persimmon and pawpaw trees in the afternoon to take home.
Cost: $10 donation to cover rootstocks and supplies for two trees.
Why: Grafting is a great, simple method to clone our favorite fruits and nuts. Learn a skill that gives for a lifetime and to pass to the next generation. The 2019 class was a success, so we are doing it again.
- All materials and instructions are supplied. Bring your own grafting knife if you have one.
- Please sign up in advance with an email to MichiganNutGrower@gmail.com or contact President Dennis Strahle. Payment due at the class.
- Class will be limited to the first 50 students to sign up, starting January 1, 2021
2020 Summer Meeting…Cancelled
The 2020 Summer Meeting was scheduled for July 25 near Grant, Michigan. One of our members has offered his farm for a meeting and tour. However, this meeting is cancelled due to COVID-19.
Had it been safe, we were going to start with a noon potluck, have a business meeting, a fund raising auction and the farm tour.
2020 Fall Meeting…Cancelled
We had a location! It was going to be at a farm near Ann Arbor. We had not finalized the date yet, but we anticipated a Saturday in late September or early October 2020. We just cannot risk a COVID-19 infection for any of our members. The very nature of our group is to gather for great social interaction. The temptation to get too close is practically unavoidable amongst friends as close as all of our friends and guests of MNFGA. We are so much like a large family it would be hard to keep in mind that COVID-19 was lurking.
2021 Farm/Nursery Tours
Farm Tours: If you would be willing to offer your farm, orchard or nursery as a possible location for MNFGA to tour in the future, please contact Dennis Strahle (517-204-8600) or send an email to MichiganNutGrower@gmail.com. MNFGA reimburses expenses incurred to support a tour/visit.
If you have an interesting topic for presentation at the 2021 or beyond spring meeting (typically held at MSU campus), please contact a Board Member or send an email to MichiganNutGrower@gmail.com. At this time, it is most likely that we will ask Marc Boone to present the pawpaw information he had planned for 2020 and to also bring in the MSU extension person to talk about herbicides and pesticides…but those topics are subject to change. Thanks for your interest and ideas!