It is just two days after the ASCFG National Conference and my mind is buzzing with so many great “Ideas From The Farm”.  What a pleasure is was to see so many familiar faces, meet new people, and share ideas.  What more could you ask for?

Here we are in early October and most of the mid-Atlantic is as dry as a bone.  In central Virginia it hasn’t rained since early July.  The grass is dormant, trees are already dropping their leaves, and my hydrangea are —to say the least— stressing.  On top of the severe lack of rainfall, we saw more triple-digit temperatures this summer than ever before.  The weather seems to be more challenging every year, but as long as there’s irrigation, it doesn’t seems to stop us from growing.

And, despite the high heat and lack of precipitation, we had a near-record number of attendees at the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting.  The venue was Bob Wollam’s beautiful farm, Wollam Gardens, and it truly shined— many thanks to Bob and his crew for their gracious hospitality.  And thanks to Steve Bogash, Don Biggar, and Bob Wollam for contributing their excellent talks during the lunch break.  Judging from the feedback I received, most growers enjoyed themselves and walked away with some good information.

Speaking of Regional Meetings, this past one was the last meeting I will conduct as a Regional Director.  As of December 31st, my term as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director will have ended.  I have to say, I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did.  

It always surprises me at election time to find a list of candidates running unopposed for the ASCFG board positions.  I’m guessing there’s a misconception about being a board member. Perhaps you see it as too time consuming, or that you’ll have to do too much work (and who has time for that with all we do on our farms?), or, you think board members are a bunch of extroverts and you may be a little shy.  All of that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Being a board member is what you make of it.  Every board member is different, but each of them is friendly and has a passion for growing cut flowers.  Yes, there are a few duties, such as conducting a Regional Meeting (if you’re a Regional Director) and writing a quarterly report.   But there are other positions that don’t require as much.  If you have an interest in finances, the Treasurer position might be for you.  And if you have keen sense for detail and good record keeping skills, why not take a turn as Secretary?

I haven’t always been a joiner, and also thought that being a member of the ASCFG board would take too much time that I should otherwise be spending on the farm, but it wasn’t like that at all.  All that is required is traveling to meet together as a board twice each year for a couple of days, and to the National Conference.  That’s it.  In fact, when you account for the relationships that have come out of my email exchanges with other members, and meeting everyone at the Regional Meetings, the experience has been invaluable, not to mention the life-long friendships that I’ve made with some.

One more point I’d like to make and then I’ll stop proselytizing so strongly.  I heard something years ago that has been bouncing around my small mind and resonates to this day, “Decisions are made by those who show up”.

That said, I’d like to welcome my successor Andrea Gagnon as the next Mid-Atlantic Regional Director.  Andrea is an outstanding grower and marketer of cut flowers, and a very creative and intelligent individual.  I know she’s going to be a great contributor to the ASCFG, and accessible to the membership.  Thanks for showing up, Andrea!

A big thanks is in order to all for your support and encouragement over the past three years.  I look forward to seeing you at future Regional Meetings and the National Conference next year!