The Organic Apple Growers’ Hour: three calls in April

On three Thursday evenings in April, Wisconsin’s Eco-Fruit Project will offer free conference calls with organic orchard consultant Michael Phillips. What a great opportunity to explore the nuance of orchard health, insects, and fungal events while planning for the season ahead!

Who is the Organic Apple Growers’ Hour for?
The calls will be geared for commercial apple growers in the Midwest with intermediate to advanced orchard management skills. Open-minded growers who are interested in a holistic approach to orchard management will get the most out of these calls. Whether you consider your growing practice to be certified-organic or ecological-organic or biologically-based IPM—or just plain ornery!—we hope you will join us. While we will concentrate on the concerns of intermediate to advanced Midwestern commercial growers; beginning orchardists, backyard gardeners, and growers from other regions are more than welcome to listen in.

Who is Michael Phillips?
Author of The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, Michael Phillips is a pioneering organic apple grower. He is a consultant for orchardists across the nation, and compiles holistic apple research on his website, Michael manages a two acre organic orchard in Groveton, New Hampshire (Zone 4), and faces many of the same challenges as growers here in the Midwest.

What is the call schedule?
The calls will happen from 7 to 9 pm Central time on three Thursdays in April. A detailed agenda for each week’s call will be sent out a week ahead so growers can plan their questions and input. Below are call dates and topics:

April 9 ——- Holistic Disease Management

April 16 —— Balancing Insect Dynamics

April 23 —— Orchard Health: fungal allies, soil fertility and ecosystem thinking

What does it cost?
The only cost associated with calling is your normally incurred long-distance charge. If you have free long distance, then these calls are completely free.

How do I call in?
To call in, dial 712-432-1680, then enter this access code: 868736.
Other helpful numbers:

  • press *6 to mute your line. press *6 again to un-mute your line
  • customer help line: 877-482-5838

What if I can’t make the call at 7pm on Thursday?
If you can’t make the calls, there are three ways to listen to recordings of the Organic Apple Grower’s Hour.
1. To hear the most recent call recording over the phone: Dial: (712) 432-1284, then enter this access code: 868736
2. To access an archive of all call recordings over the phone (once all three calls are completed, they will be available here):

  • Dial: 641-715-3800, then enter this access code: 95226
  • Follow the directions in the greeting to listen to any of the Organic Apple Growers’ Hours from the 2008 or 2009 seasons.

3. To download call recordings:

  • You will need access to the Apple Talk blog. Contact Samuel Pratsch, at or 608-265-3637 to get a login and password for Apple Talk.
  • Once you have a login and password, you can access the blog at
  • From the blog’s main page, click on the “conference calls” link (which you’ll see on the left hand side). You will then see summaries for a couple of different conference call series.
  • Click on the summary you want, then scroll down to download the audio recording.

How do I sign up?
You can register to participate by submitting your name, orchard name, address, e-mail, and phone number to Samuel Pratsch, at or 608-265-3637. Registration is not required, but it will help us keep track of who uses the call and to gather feedback. Even if you only plan to listen to recordings, please register.

Any Questions? Contact call coordinator Samuel Pratsch at, or 608-265-3637.
These calls are offered by the Eco-Fruit Project in cooperation with the Organic Tree Fruit Association.

Download instructions