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NMSU to host annual fruit growers workshop at Los Luceros Ranch March 1

ALCALDE – Trees in northern New Mexico orchards may be dormant during the winter months, but the fruit growers are looking ahead to next spring when the blooms will be forming on the plants.

Man picking grapes
New Mexico State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center will host the annual fruit grower workshop at the historic Los Luceros Ranch on March 1. Updates will be given on the NMSU research being done on various fruits, including grapes, jujube, organic apples and stone fruit. (NMSU photo by Geraint Smith)

Part of the preparation is learning tips for managing the trees, pollinators and pests, as well as what research New Mexico State University is conducting at the Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde.

NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Service is hosting the annual Fruit Grower Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at the historic Los Luceros Ranch north of Alcalde on County Road 41.

“This will be our second year to meet at the Los Luceros Ranch,” said Shengrui Yao, NMSU Extension fruit specialist. “The ranch provides us with a wonderful opportunity because of the established fruit orchard on the property.”

The 148-acre ranch, formerly owned by the family of Frank and Ann Cabot, is now property of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Presentations will begin at 9 a.m. Topics will include:
– An overview of the fruit industry in New Mexico by Patrick Torres, NMSU Extension Northern District Director.
– An overview of the historic Los Luceros Ranch by Patrick Moore, the ranch manager.
– Update on research on jujube cultivars, organic apple rootstock and high tunnel stone fruit by Yao.
– Grape varieties, rootstock and New Mexico “terroir” (how a particular region’s climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of wine) by Gil Giese, NMSU Extension viticulture specialist.
– Bee and pollination in fruit production by Ashley Bennett, NMSU Extension small urban farm integrated pest management specialist.
– Marketing and local farmers market discussion panel with Sabra Moore, Melissa Willis and other representatives from local growers’ markets.
– New Mexico organic certification and regulations by Ive Eddy, New Mexico Department of Agriculture organic program inspector.
– Acequia legacy in northern New Mexico by Steve Guldan. NMSU Alcalde Center superintendent.
– Tree planting, transplanting and management field demonstration by Gordon Tooley.
– Gopher management field demonstration by Tom Dominguez, NMSU Extension agricultural agent in Santa Fe County.

Registration is $12 per person before Feb. 20 and $15 after Feb. 20. Fee includes lunch and materials. Participants are encouraged to register before Feb. 20 to ensure enough food is prepared for lunch.

To pre-register, call Joy at the Santa Fe County Extension office, 505-471-4711.