About the Conference

New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference and Trade Show is held alternate years at the DoubleTree by Hilton (formerly known as the Radisson) in Manchester, NH. It includes more than 30 educational sessions over 3 days, addressing major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. Farmer-to-Farmer sessions  bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion on certain issues.

There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 120 exhibitors. We hope that you will enjoy your time here, and meet with fellow growers, advisors, researchers, and industry representatives. We want you to leave with new ideas and new information that will have a positive impact on your farm.

This conference is special because it is put together with close collaboration between growers and Extension from across the region. The steering committee gathers the best speakers from within our region and across the country to tell you about the latest innovations and advances in the fruit and vegetable industry. Almost every session includes both farmers and research or extension personnel, so you are getting the “best of both worlds.”

Our sponsors invite you to visit the Trade Show during the conference. We invite businesses and organizations to exhibit at the Trade Show for the purpose of providing information to the participants. While we make reasonable efforts to assure the integrity of the exhibitors, the conference sponsors do not guarantee or warranty any product exhibited; neither do the sponsors imply approval or endorsement of any product to the exclusion of others that may be available.

We value your feedback on the conference, and we use your comments and suggestions to plan the program. Please fill out an evaluation form before you leave!

History of the Conference

The idea for the original ‘New England Vegetable Growers Convention’ was conceived by Alden Miller, Dom Marini, John Howell, Jr. and Otho Wells at a Northeast American Society of Horticultural Science Meeting at UMass in January of 1978.  It would be patterned after the New England Greenhouse Conference and be held in odd-numbered years while the Greenhouse Conference was held in even-numbered years. Additional planning took place at a gathering of New England Extension Vegetable Specialists and Agents in Worcester, MA in December of 1978 to discuss individual state programs, research efforts, and the possibility of hosting a vegetable convention. Clark Nicklow (UMass) was “elected” as the first General Chairman and Exhibit Manager because of his previous experience in the genesis of the Great Lakes Vegetable Expo in Michigan. Otho Wells (UNH) served as the first Program Chairman, Alden Miller (UMass) was in charge of Publicity, and Richard Ashley (UConn) and Wilfred Erhardt (UMaine) were Registration Co-Chairmen. Other members of the Steering Committee included:  Edward Bouton and Theodore Flanagan (UVM); Perley Colby (UNH); Walter Laramie (URI); and John Howell, Jr., Dominic Marini and Robert Precheur (UMass).

  The New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association (NEV&BGA) agreed to back the convention financially in the event that it lost money. Any proceeds were to be split between the Association and the Steering Committee, which used its share as seed money for the next convention.

The first convention was held December 11-13, 1979, at the Sheraton Inn (now the Holiday Inn), off Route 495, in Boxboro, Massachusetts. It consisted of a general session, breakout sessions on specific topics, an evening banquet, Proceedings, and a trade show with 78 exhibits. Over 1,000 people attended. The convention was held every other year through 1987.