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Midwest Fruit Explorers
Garden Club for Backyard Fruit Growers
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Introduction Blueberries North Apple Bed Panaromic View Dwarf Conclusion
Gene's Answers Train a Mini-Dwarf Favorite Apples Map of Backyard

MidFEx, short for Midwest Fruit Explorers, is a non-profit organization of amateur backyard fruit growing enthusiasts.  Most of our members live in the counties surrounding Chicago.

Gene’s 40” apple tree (click to take a tour)
We are crazy about the best tasting, most flavorful fruits that grow well here. We are also interested in growing special, superior and unusual fruits regardless of their appearance or commercial appeal.  This includes little known varieties of apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes and nuts; and more unusual fruits such as the pawpaw, mulberry, persimmon, fig, juneberry, Asian pear, and hardy kiwi.  Our members locate, graft, propagate, test, grow and swap these superior fruiting plants, and then get together and share their knowledge.

MidFEx has a video depository located at midfex at vimeo.com.  Here you will find videos covering topics such as t-bud/chip bud grafting techniques.
  • Spring Pruning Workshop
    Event Description: Our annual member-hosted pruning workshop is a great way to hands on experience with member
    guidance and discussion. Please bring your own tools to practice with.
    _______________ Shitake Mushrooms _________________
    Our host also grows Shitake Mushrooms.  He picked up fresh cut oak logs, beeswax, and dowels inoculated with shitake spawn.  If you want to grow their own mushrooms stick around and you can learn how to do it.

    Date: April 13, 2014
    Time: 1pm
    Location: See Grapevine or Members Only page
    Directions: See Grapevine or Members Only page

    Event Details: This is a member only event.  See your Grapevine newsletter or the Members Only page for additional details.
  • Summer Lecture
    Event Description: We are pleased to host Dr. Randy Beaudry from Michigan State University for MidFEx’s annual summer lecture. Dr. Beaudry’s research at MSU encompasses “assessing the quality of harvested plant products and the development of technological interventions to improve quality maintenance” and will primarily be speaking on extending the life of fruits in storage. His extensive work with apples makes his lecture of particular interest to our group.

    To read more about Dr. Beaudry’s work, visit:
    http://www.hrt.msu.edu/randolph-beaudry/pg2

    Date: June 22, 2014
    Time: 10:30 am
    Location: Chicago Botanic Garden, Linnaeus Room
    Directions: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois.  Go to the Linnaeus Room in the Regenstein Center building.
    Parking: Parking is free for Chicago Botanic Garden members and members of gardens with reciprocal privileges. If you are not a member of the Botanic Gardens you will have to pay the parking fee of $20 or $25.  Visit Chicago Botanic Garden’s web pages for details on parking and membership. Chicago Botanic Garden

    Event Details: This event is open to members and non-members.
  • Summer Picnic
    Event Description: The Summer Picnic is a time for MidFExers to come together, feast, talk fruit and go on a tour of the host’s orchard. It also serves as our 3rd Quarter business meeting.
    The meal will be served at noon and the club will provide the main entree, beverage and dinnerware. The side dishes and desserts are pot luck, so it is time for you to show off your cooking and/or baking skills and bring something to share.

    Volunteers should arrive around 10 am to set up. Lunch will be served at noon. The business meeting will start at 1.

    Also on the agenda for the picnic:
      
    Silent Auction:  Bring your surplus gardening related items to the picnic for auction. Examples include fruit trees and non-fruiting plants, along with books and gardening related tools. Then bid on some truly unique items and take home some bargains for your garden.  Members often graft more trees than they have room for (for insurance) and donate their surplus successes to the auction. Many also take this opportunity to divide those overly crowded garden plants knowing their donations will go to good homes. Proceeds from the auction benefit the MidFEx treasury.

    Budding Demonstration:  Get an up-close look of summer budding techniques.  Ask questions and get answers from experienced members.

    Budwood Exchange: Share budwood of desirable or unusual varieties with other members to try your own hand with summer budding.  Look for budwood collection and storage instructions in the Grapevine.

    Date: July 20, 2014
    Time: Setup - 10am, Lunch - Noon
    Location: See Grapevine or Members Only page
    Directions: See Grapevine or Members Only page

    Event Details: This is a member only event.  See your Grapevine newsletter or the Members Only page for additional details.

  • Orchard Tour
    Event Description: Al has been in his current home since 1975, and began planting fruit trees shortly after he moved in.  Al’s gardening style emphasizes utilization of limited space.  His ½ acre orchard includes 45 varieties of apples some multiple grafted onto larger trees many on dwarf rootstocks many as espaliers, He has six varieties of European pears some as espaliers, as well as peach, plum, apricot, pawpaw, persimmons, figs, quince, the usual berries, and a bee hive.  

    Date: Sunday August 24, 2014
    Time: 1pm - 3pm
    Location: See Grapevine or Members Only page
    Directions: See Grapevine or Members Only page

    Event Details: This is a member only event.  See your Grapevine newsletter or the Members Only page for additional details.
  • Orchard Tour
    Event Description: The Foray’s 1/3 acre garden contains more than 49 fruit trees (including apple, cherry, nectarine, peach, apricot, plum, pear, and pawpaw), a citrus garden (including lemons, limes, oranges, and a pomegranate), a berry garden (including blueberries, strawberries, grapes, cranberry, and raspberry) along with a flower and vegetable garden.

    Date: Saturday September 6, 2014
    Time: 1pm - 3pm
    Location: See Grapevine or Members Only page
    Directions: See Grapevine or Members Only page

    Event Details: This is a member only event.  See your Grapevine newsletter or the Members Only page for additional details.
  • Orchard Tour
    Event Description: Gene’s back yard is no larger than most in town -- about 2500 square feet -- but he’s somehow squeezed in 178 apple trees and 6 blueberry bushes.  Come see how he does it.

    Date: Sunday September 21st, 1pm - 3pm
    Time: 1pm - 3pm
    Location: See Grapevine or Members Only page
    Directions: See Grapevine or Members Only page

    Event Details: This is a member only event.  See your Grapevine newsletter or the Members Only page for additional details.
  • 2014 Harvest Festival  
    Event Description: The Fall Harvest Festival at the Chicago Botanic Gardens is our largest public event, fund raiser, and membership drive all rolled into one.  It’s a fun exciting experience and a great opportunity to socialize and network with MidFExers while learning the virtues of growing your own fruit.  Members bring in fruit for display, and on Sunday starting at 2pm, people are invited to sample the display fruit.  [Harvest Fest]

    MidFEx will be selling wonderfully tasting less commonly known apples, fruit butters, books on fruit growing.  We will also be making fresh pressed cider and answering any questions you have about growing fruit.

    Styles/Images/bulletList.gif Show Date & Time: Saturday October 18, 2013 10am - 4:30pm
    Styles/Images/bulletList.gif Show Date & Time: Sunday October 19, 2013 10am - 4:30pm
    Location: Chicago Botanic Garden
    Directions: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois.
    Parking: Parking is free for Chicago Botanic Garden members and members of gardens with reciprocal privileges. If you are not a member of the Botanic Gardens you will have to pay the parking fee of $20 or $25.  Visit Chicago Botanic Garden’s web pages for details on parking and membership. Chicago Botanic Garden

    Event Details: This event is open to the public.
Midwest Fruit Explorers, P.O. Box 93, Markham, IL 60428-0093
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