Thursday, June 5, 2008

NAFEX meeting on July 24-26th

Hello fellow gardeners,

We would like to personally invite you to the upcoming NAFEX meeting.

What is NAFEX?

The North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX) is a network of individuals throughout the United States and Canada devoted to the discovery, cultivation and appreciation of superior varieties of fruits and nuts. Founded in 1967 by a small group of pomological hobbyists, NAFEX has grown to an organization of more than 3,000 members, and is chartered as a nonprofit organization in the state of Illinois. Although the ranks of our membership include professional pomologists, nurserymen, and commercial orchardists, NAFEX members are all AMATEURS in the truest sense of the word; they are motivated by their LOVE of fine fruit.

NAFEX members typically work together to help each other by sharing ideas, information, experiences, and propagating material. We communicate with each other through the pages of POMONA, a quarterly journal assembled largely from articles submitted by the membership. A diverse assortment of interests and approaches are represented. While many of us are involved in collecting and growing well-known fruit like apples and pears, others are specialists in so-called "minor" fruit such as mayhaws, kiwis, persimmons, and pawpaws. A number of members are primarily variety collectors, and some experiment to breed new cultivars. Others labor to produce good fruit crops under marginal conditions. Different, often contradictory, methods of horticulture are advocated; organic practitioners share a forum with growers applying chemical management systems. Despite this lively divergence of focus and opinion, NAFEX members are bound together by the spirit of fellowship and cooperation in a common quest for excellence in fruit

Every year NAFEX has a meeting where people come from all over to fellowship and learn from each other as well as invited speakers.

This years meeting is in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. These meetings are open to the public. We encourage gardeners of all skill levels to come join us for a few days of education and enjoyment.

If you have any questions about this group, please feel free to email Robert Hamilton.


Elizabeth City, North Carolina

The 2008, Annual NAFEX meeting will take place in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on July 24-26th. Our host, Tom Campbell, is the long-time agricultural extension agent.

Lodging: See registration form for details.

Registration and Welcome: We begin on Thursday late afternoon starting at 5:00 PM at the NC Cooperative Extension, Pasquotank Center which is located at 1209 McPherson Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909. Greet your old friends and make new ones with our usual see-who-is-here session to accommodate tall stories, registration, maps and handouts, etc.

Show and Tell: Bring your fruit and wine samples for tasting and display.

Brags and blunders: Brag about your orchard? Tell about your blunder(s) to save others from the same mistakes. Why not bring a disk with digital pictures for your presentation on the PowerPoint projector. Our host Tom Campbell will serve as MC. This evening ends at 9 PM. DON'T FORGET YOU'LL HAVE TO BE BACK EARLY THE NEXT MORNING!

Board Meeting: The annual NAFEX Board meeting is planned there also, starting at around 7 PM in a separate meeting room. Members are invited to attend the important board meeting.

The emphasis of this annual meeting is visiting orchards with nearly two full days of tours.

Friday morning we will leave from the same Extension Center promptly at 8 AM to begin our first set of tours to four locations which includes raised bed fruit culture for physically impaired gardeners, olive, fig, grapes, an apple planting, plum, and mixed brambles wholesale packing operation, and a muscadine grape winery. By noon we will make it to the Clay Foreman Arboretum for a tour and a catered lunch at the Charles Creek Park. Transportation will be vans, or you may car pool. After lunch you'll have time to stroll the huge new air-conditioned Museum of the Albemarle facing Elizabeth City's beautiful historic waterfront.

Spouses: For the spouses not interested in the orchard tour there will be simultaneous trip taking in some interesting antique stores and other locations. They will then meet up with the orchard tour for lunch at Charles Creek Park.

Presentations: By 2:30 PM everyone will be back at the Extension Services Auditorium to begin our scientific program, which will last until around 5:30 PM. Tentative speakers are David Vernon of Century Orchards, his subject heirloom apples. We'll have a presentation on kiwi fruit production. Ethan Natelson speaks on pears, another subject grafting and budding fruit.

Call for papers: You are also invited to give a presentation. Length should be about 30 minutes. PowerPoint will be available. Contact Ethan Natelson at or by phone to make arrangements.

Banquet: The annual banquet follows the scientific presentations, at Addie's Acres Farm at 6 PM with a social hour followed by an outdoor Pig Pickin' and Buffet. Directions will be given to Addie's Acres, only one quarter mile from the Extension Center. You may bring your own alcoholic beverages. Dinner will be served at 7:00PM. Following the outdoor banquet will be the annual business meeting. The Research Fund Committee will present their recommendation to the membership for discussion. The auction will take place after adjournment. Remember to bring something of membership interest to be auctioned off. Felix Cooper will again manage the auction. Inquiries and donations should be directed to Felix at or bring your donation with you. If weather is rainy, dinner will be inside the Extension Center. Alcohol will not be permitted on county properties in the unlikely case that we must stay indoors.

Saturday we will be leaving again at 8 AM from the same Pasquotank Extension Center for a second set of tours. Enjoy a ferry ride to Knott's Island, which is a very interesting location and will surprise you with what can be grown on what essentially is a giant sand bar. A box lunch will be served there. We will also take in Austin's Peach Orchard and Basket Shop, Floyd Watkins 1⁄2 acre 60 vine commercial kiwi fruit vineyard, Martins' 20 acre Orchard and Winery which is a pick your own and wine tasting operation, and Moonrise Bay Vineyard, Winery, and Tasting Room. We would leave to return to Elizabeth City by mid-afternoon, but might not be back there until 5-6 PM. You are then on your own for dinner. Vans will be used for transportation or you may follow or car pool. There will be a small per car follow fee to cover miscellaneous tour related expenses.

Please register ahead using the form, it helps those making plans, lowers their anxiety level and saves you money.

The registration fee is $60 per adult which includes Thursday and Friday, Friday and Saturday lunches and the educational program. Registration will be available on site and can be adjusted for those not attending all of the events. We look forward to seeing you there, Thursday, July 24 thru Saturday, July 26, 2008. For those flying in, Elizabeth City is about 45 miles due South of Norfolk, Virginia and the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). Raleigh/Durham Airport (RDU) is about 3.5 hours drive West Southwest of Elizabeth City.

For more lodging assistance, information about area attractions or other information about Northeastern North Carolina, please call the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau at 1-866-324-8948 during business hours M-F EST.

The Extension Office and Motels are handicapped compliant. If you have further needs please call Tom Campbell at 252-338-3954. To see more information and/or to fill out the sign-up form pleace check out

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