After recently returning from the spring Board meeting, I must say that Leah Cook and John Dole have done an excellent job planning the 2007 Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina in October.  I think all of you will be very pleased and excited about the variety of talks and activities.  So, put October 1-4 on your calendar and plan on joining us for a great conference.        

Speaking of planning and meeting, the South-Central Regional Meeting schedule has been finalized.  At last year’s Regional Meeting you asked to see Arnoskys’  Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, so that is what you have.  Pam and Frank have agreed to allow us to visit their farm and see all their new additions.  The Regional will be June 2nd.  We will begin the day by meeting at Texas Specialty Cut Flowers.  Registration will run from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and the tour will begin at 8:30 a.m.  We will leave Texas Specialty Cut Flowers at 11:30 and head down the road to McCall Creek Farms to visit Cathy and Mark Itz.  Cathy will have lunch ready for us and after lunch we will tour their farm and facilities.  After touring McCall Creek Farms, we will sit down under some shade trees and have a quick meeting to update you on association activities plus plan the Regional for next year.                            

For everyone who attended the 2000 Conference in Austin, both these farm were on the tour then too but both farms have gone through a number of changes that I’m sure you will all want to see.  Not only have both farms physically changed, but so have their marketing strategies.  I believe everyone attending will leave with new growing and marketing ideas.  Don’t wait until the last minute to send in your registration for this meeting.  Since lunches will be made specifically for us, we will order them according to pre-registration.  If you just show up the day of the meeting, you may not have a lunch waiting for you.  Another reason not to procrastinate to register is there are already two major events planned for the area, a family reunion and a huge wedding.  So, hotels are filling fast and unless you want to stay in San Antonio, get your registration in right away.  Below are some of the choices we currently have.            

Best Western, Johnson City, (830) 868-4044.  If we have 10 rooms sign up they will give us a rate of 89.95 per night for two people/room.  Blanco State Park, if you want to camp out.    Fredericksburg: there are about 250 B&B’s in Fredericksburg.  You can call a booking agency (Gastehaus Schmidt) (830) 997-5612 or call a 1st Class Reservation Service (830) 997-0443.         

You can also go to [email protected]  La Quinta is also in Fredericksburg- call their nationwide reservation number.  There is always San Antonio and Austin too.            

Come with lots of questions and be prepared to have a great day touring two special farms.  I look forward to seeing each and every one of you there.                          

By the time this Quarterly is printed, we will in the thick of things with planting in the field.  We have already put some things out and March will be a pretty busy month too.  We were able to do a lot of farm cleanup this winter because of snow, sleet and cold temperatures which let us do some brush burning.  That was so much fun and I think I have turned all my employees into fire bugs.  It was especially fun on the days we roasted hot dogs and made s’mores for lunch over our fires.  Nothing tastes better on those crisp days with snow on the ground, after a morning of lugging branches and possibly walking what seems like 20 miles.  We uncovered an old barbeque pit, made of bricks, on the north part of the property.  It was covered with grapevine, trees and debris but now it’s ready to use and before it gets too crazy we plan on grilling some hamburgers and chicken and enjoying it while we can.  This barbeque is big enough to cook a lot of things at once.  The grate on it is 3 feet by 6 feet and it’s not too far from the largest pecan tree on the farm.  It will make a nice summer cookout place too, if there is time.  I hope all of you have a great season this year.  We have a lot of things we’d like to accomplish this season, so the pressure is on.            

If any of you have any questions about the Regional Meeting or anything else, please don’t hesitate to call or email me. I hope everyone is trying something new this season too.  I will see you on June 2nd in Texas with your ideas for next year.

“Faith is to believe what you do not see and the reward of this faith is to see what you believe”.
-St. Augustine