Cobden, Ill. – The rainy weather didn’t prevent local growers from gathering at Flamm Orchards on Monday, May 17, to learn about strawberry production during a recent twilight meeting. The highly anticipated in-person event was the first of four summer events hosted by University of Illinois Extension to highlight diverse farming enterprises across southern Illinois. 

A staple of the southern Illinois community, Flamm Orchards started in 1888 and now has members of the fifth and sixth generation active in the operation. Leonhard and Theresa Flamm purchased the original 117 acres of land in 1888. Since that time, the farm has slowly evolved from the 117 original acres into a 2,000-acre farm with around 1,000 acres in operation. They currently have 350 acres of peaches, 250 acres of apples, 10 acres of strawberries, and around 200 acres of zucchini, squash, and cucumbers in production.

A flatbed covered in haybales shuttled participants to the center of the strawberry fields where Mike, Jeff, and Alan Flamm gave a tour and shared their experiences growing plasticulture strawberries for the past two decades. The family was available to answer questions on pest management, frost prevention, production techniques, and variety performance between the five cultivars they are currently growing. They ended the evening where Austin Flamm discussed the retail market roadside stand and capped off the night with a Flamm Orchards favorite- strawberry shortcake!

The next twilight meeting will be held June 21 at the Dixon Springs Ag Center on high tunnel production. University of Illinois Specialty Crops Entomologist Kacie Athey will also discuss her work on sustainable insect control in high tunnels through biological controls. To register, visit go.illinois.edu/2021TwilightSeries.To register by phone, call (618) 695-2441.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact Bronwyn Aly at baly@illinois.edu.  Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. 

SOURCE:  Bronwyn Aly, local foods and small farms educator, baly@illinois.edu, (618) 695-2441

WRITER: Heather Willis, marketing and communications coordinator, hdwillis@illinois.edu, (618) 357-2126

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.