The most important nursery trade commerce present within the West, the Farwest Present, will rejoice its fiftieth anniversary this coming August.
The commerce present and convention is produced by the Oregon Affiliation of Nurseries (OAN) and can happen August 23–25, 2023, on the Oregon Conference Heart in Portland, Oregon. It can embody particular festivities celebrating 5 a long time of creating nursery trade connections. Cubicles can be found now, registration will open on April 10, and organizers have deliberate a full slate of seminars and social occasions.
Highlights of the fiftieth anniversary celebration will embody a band, meals carts, expanded academic alternatives, and artistic methods of recognizing the historical past of the present and the trade it represents.
“Not many nursery commerce exhibits have lasted 5 a long time, via all of the modifications within the trade and all of the transformations in how gross sales occur,” mentioned Allan Niemi, OAN director of occasions, who has served as director of the present since 2008. “Farwest has performed it, so we’re going to have a celebration to rejoice! We’re immensely happy with what the present has performed for our growers and nursery professionals from all around the nation. It has introduced folks to Oregon the place they will see the distinction that Nursery Nation growers are in a position to supply.”
The primary Farwest befell in 1973 within the exhibition halls at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum enviornment. “All exhibits result in Portland, September 11–13 for the Farwest Nursery, Backyard and Provide Present: the largest, boldest nursery present ever staged in Farwest Nation,” trumpeted the August/September 1973 situation of Digger journal.
“It was simply an thrilling journey,” mentioned the late Arda Berryhill, a grower, and member of the Oregon Nurseries’ Corridor of Fame, within the August 2020 situation of Digger. “Nothing prefer it had ever been performed. All of us had been so excited to see clients from the Midwest and East that [most of us] had by no means had contact with. It introduced us some clients that we’d by no means seen.”
Turnout on the first present was 120 exhibitors and 1,500 attendees from 27 states and three nations (U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands). The present was hailed as successful, and the subsequent 12 months, it doubled in dimension. Just a few years later, in 1977, the one version of Farwest to occur outdoors of Oregon befell at Seattle Heart. It was profitable, however growers determined they simply needed the present to happen in Oregon.
And why not? Farwest has continued to develop over time, proper together with Oregon’s nursery trade. It made the massive transfer to the gleaming new Oregon Conference Heart in 1991. The middle has since been expanded, and Farwest expanded proper together with it.
“It sounds corny, however the present got here alive,” mentioned former Oregon Affiliation of Nurseries (OAN) govt director Clayton Hannon within the August 2020 situation of Digger.
In the course of the Nineties, Oregon nursery gross sales doubled from $299 million in 1990 to $642 million in 2000, and progress has continued. The Nice Recession from 2008–2012 noticed gross sales subside, as a result of housing crash, and the present contracted accordingly.
Nursery gross sales have normalized since then, resuming their prior progress. In 2020, the latest 12 months tallied, Oregon registered $1.2 billion in gross sales, translating to about $4 per individual in the USA. Greater than three-fourths of Oregon’s manufacturing is offered out of state, with the bulk headed east of the Mississippi River.
“We satisfaction Farwest on being the greenest present within the trade,” Niemi mentioned. “Most of our growers are positioned inside just a few hours’ drive within the Willamette Valley, the place the circumstances for rising lush and exquisite bushes and shrubs are pretty much as good because it will get. There’s an extended rising season, winter chilly for dormancy, nice soil, ample water provides, and growers who simply know what they’re doing. You may meet them at Farwest and see their crops. It’s price coming to see and expertise.”