Archive for September, 2010

International Horticultural Congress Lisbon

This congress, organised by the International Society for Horticultural Science takes place every four years – and happened to be in Lisbon this year.  To put this event into perspective – organisers were talking about 3,500 plus delegates having registered from all over the world and representing every conceivable branch of horticultural science. 

It had its moments – like when the bus driver refused to take us to our hotel after an evening function because he had been instructed to drop everyone off at one hotel hotel, rather than deliver all delegates to the actual hotel they were staying at – but hey, one can laugh about it today.

The congress programme consisted of both oral and poster presentations. A look at the size of the poster presentation area should assist in appreciating the scale of the congress.

Posters everywhere! Another way to get an appreciation for the scale of an event is usually the programme document and in this case also the published abstracts. Combined, these documents weighed about 5 kg and it took several hours to digest them and figure out which session one wanted to attend, where the session was being held, what one was therefore missing out on and how one could compensate for this situation. Not everyone is interested in every session. My key focus was on economics and value chain management whereas Massimo and Anne-Marie were concentrating on post harvest quality management and rotten fruit.    🙂

Posters, posters everywhere

But just in case one really did not know how to navigate through the documents on offer, the congress organisers had come up with a really new and innovative approach aimed at removing the guess work from the situation. How well they succeeded is another question all together – but have a look at this photo!  There goes the perception that scientists are ALWAYS very precise!



Vegepacks loitering Triffid-like on Lisbon street corners

Have you ever wondered what happened to all the old Turners & Growers Vegepacks which were so dominant in our industry until the mid nineties when plastic crates took over as the main packaging mode for fresh produce?  We can now let you  into the secret.  The Vegepacks seems to have been shipped to Lisbon, where they loiter at various street corners, making life difficult for tourists trying to navigate town.  When we walked past the same spot a couple of days later, the Vegepacks were gone – and the square was back to normal.  Very disconcerting indeed!

The Liquid Grape Department – Portugal

Portugal is famous for a whole bunch of things.  Spawning discoverers such as Ferdinand Magellan,Vasco de Gama and Bartholomeu Dias, being neutral in World War II and, of course, supplying the world with copious amounts of Vinho do Porto!

And Portuguese fruit sellers being the entrepreneurial and enterprising people which they are, learned early on in the piece that it might not be a bad idea combining both merchandise ranges under one roof! May be we should try this here in New Zealand!

A closer look at the bottle produce shows that it has an extended shelf life and that a bit of dust is not a distractor but adds to the image.

And just to put the whole Port thing into perspective – have a look at this bottle.  And its price.  A far cry from the stuff availbale at the local supermarket, wouldn’t you say?

I’ll have half a case, thank you!

Sauerkraut Travels 2010 – Portugal

There is produce – and then there is produce.  I have decided that I much rather prefer eating summer fruit such as peaches, plums and nectarines in summer rather than in winter.  I guess this means if I have a hankering for a juicy nectarine in August that I have to go to the nectarines rather than wait for them to come to me.  Or with a little more clarity – instead of sitting in New Zealand eating Californian imports, I decided to go to Portugal and eat the local stuff! My main excuse for this trip was the ISHS Horticultural Congress and I will talk about this event here a little bit as well. There will also be some comments on Portuguese supermarkets, culture and eating habits before I will move my commentary to Italy, Finland and England – the other places on my August/September European travel itinerary.  Lots to to see and lots to learn.  First interesting learning from Portugal  – many produce shops also sell liquid grapes!