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South Centers

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OSU South Centers to host Blueberry, Bramble, and Wine Grape Field Night

By Bradford Sherman
Ohio State University South Centers

Valuable information on new and current small fruit and specialty crops, field demonstrations, and more will be made available as part of the Blueberry, Bramble, and Wine Grape Field Night hosted by The Ohio State University South Centers.

This educational opportunity, featuring Small Fruit Specialist Dr. Gary Gao and Research Assistant Ryan Slaughter, will take place Thursday, September 6 beginning at 5:30 p.m. and pre-registration is required. Attendees will be served dinner prior to the start of the program, then depart on a wagon tour of the South Centers blueberries, brambles, and wine grapes fields, where the informational sessions will take place. The event is scheduled to last until 8:30 p.m.

“This will be a great workshop, both for beginners and for people looking to understand more advanced growing techniques,” said Slaughter.

“No matter your level of expertise, we believe you will come away with new knowledge that you will be able to apply to your respective operations – large or small.”

Informational items and demonstrations covered as part of the tour include: pre-harvest vineyard management and fruit sampling and analysis, showcase of cold hardy wine grape cultivars, high tunnel wine grape production, hardy kiwis and hardy figs, elderberries, processing and fresh market blueberry cultivar trial, setup and results of container grown berries, blueberry rootstock collection and evaluation, pest management using chemigation, field tours of blueberries, brambles and grapes, container fruit production, and new bramble cultivars.

The cost of the program is $25 per person, and you must pre-register by August 31 in order to attend. Families, up to three members, can attend for $40.

Dr. Gao, who holds these field nights in late summer each year, explained that several new topics are planned for this year’s field night.

“We are extremely excited about hardy kiwis and hardy figs; these are new crops with good potential for Ohio as a niche crop,” said Gao.

“We will also be discussing container fruit production techniques and its adoption in Ohio, and high tunnel wine grape production. The latter of which is certainly challenging, but if done well, could be a viable option for wine grape growers in estate wine production.”

To register for the event, call Bradford Sherman at 740-289-2071, ext. 115, or email him at

The event will take place rain or shine, so please plan to wear weather- and temperature-appropriate clothing and footwear.

OSU South Centers is located at 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon. Attendees should enter the Research and Extension Building upon arrival.


 The mission of the center is to develop specialty crops including fruit and vegetable crops as alternative agricultural crops, that can be economically grown and marketed from southern Ohio and beyond to enhance the income of Ohio farms through applied research and education in production and marketing.

Since it opened in 1991, the South Centers has focused on new specialty crops, such as strawberries, pawpaw, blueberries, brambles, wine grapes, hops, malting barley, tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins.

Our team of extension and research members bring over 50 years of combined specialty crop research and teaching to the South Centers. Dr. Gary Gao and Mr. Brad Bergefurd are the co-leaders of the Center for Specialty Crops. 


The Ohio State University South Centers enhance southern Ohio by assisting people with informed decision-making through responsive research, education, entrepreneurial application, and collaborative partnerships. We are a leading, respected contributor to the land grant mission of The Ohio State University.

Our research and extension programs are designed to promote, develop, and support innovative and profitable enterprises though integrating research and education. Agricultural Programs include: Aquaculture Research and Development; Commercial Horticultural and Specialty Crops; Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources.

The Business Development Network offers innovative research, learning opportunities, technical assistance, and a network of resources for business owners and managers, entrepreneurs, youth, community leaders and educators, and elected officials. Business Programs include: Endeavor Center Business Incubator; Small Business Development Center; Manufacturing Extension Partnership; CFAES Center for Cooperatives; Direct Food and Agricultural Marketing.