BF 123: Growing Uncommon Fruit

Expand Your Knowledge of and Connection to Underutilized Fruit

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Expand Your Knowledge of and Connection to Underutilized Fruit

Do you want to learn more about lesser-known fruit? This course will help you determine whether incorporating uncommon fruit into your operation is the right decision for you. We’ll walk you through all aspects of this decision, from possible fruits and appropriate site selection to marketing and profit potential, plus the advantages to including woody perennials into your farm plan. Many of these fruits can be successful in a forest farming setting, so are attractive to people with an interest in agroforestry. Expand your understanding of these promising crops and how they could improve your farm’s ecosystem while possibly also supporting your bottom line.

This course is designed as a companion to the BF 122: Berry Production course, but you do NOT have to take BF 122 before taking BF 123.

Target Audience

Beginning to Intermediate: Farmers with a few years of commercial horticulture experience will get the most from this course but all are welcome to participate. This course will also be beneficial to very small-scale orchardists/gardeners, permaculture growers, and those with an interest in agroforestry.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will know:

  • How to identify and then measure success when incorporating uncommon fruit into your operation
  • Factors for primary site selection and analysis considerations
  • Soil and climatic requirements of an array of uncommon fruit
  • Potential benefits and costs associated with uncommon fruit in commercial settings
  • What factors to consider for successful marketing, analyzing costs, and generating income associated with these crops
  • How to connect with grower-groups and farm resource agencies to support your operation


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

Webinar Schedule

In 2025, this course will be offered live for 6-weeks on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 8:00 PM (Eastern) from February 25 – April 1. While we encourage live attendance, so you have the opportunity to engage with presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and posted in the online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish. Join us!

Testimonials from Recent Students

-The instructors were very knowledgeable, presented all the material in a clear and engaging way, and provided additional helpful resources "on the fly," based on the forum discussions and questions.

-Great information and wonderful instructors who were adept at answering questions ranging from very beginner questions to questions from those who were more advanced and everyone in between.

Your Instructor

Laura McDermott, Anya Osatuke, + Natasha Field
Laura McDermott, Anya Osatuke, + Natasha Field

Laura McDermott is a Sr. Extension Associate with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program where she serves as a team leader and small fruit specialist.Laura has years of experience troubleshooting commercial fruit and vegetable production problems and has worked with many new growers as they establish their farms.She’s been involved with a wide range of applied research projects focusing on pest management, soil health and production systems.Laura is a member of the Cornell Climate Smart Farming team where she supports farmer adoption of climate-friendly practices. Laura lives in Washington County NY where she and her husband operate a small broodmare farm.

Anya Osatuke is the Western New York Small Fruits Extension Specialist. She works with berry growers and researchers in New York State, working with questions about berry variety selection and cultural management. Before she began working with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Anya studied strawberry growing systems for her Masters degree at Cornell University.

Natasha Field is a Program Aide with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program, supporting Extension Associates in the Capital District of NY. They grew up on a pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm in Pennsylvania before attending Penn State and getting a B.S. in Agribusiness Management. Natasha has been with CCE since 2018, assisting with research projects and education programs for growers in Eastern NY. They are also an avid gardener and seed saver.

Course Curriculum

  Week 1: How to Measure Success + Elderberry Spotlight
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  Week 2: Avoid Pitfalls Associated with Site Selection + Juneberry/Amelanchier Spotlight
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  Week 3: Identify Your Targeted Consumers + Honeyberry/Haskap, and Pawpaw Spotlight
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  Week 4: Creative Marketing + Aronia Spotlight
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  Week 5: Sourcing – Plants to Equipment + Ribes and Hardy Kiwi Spotlight
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  Additional Resources
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructors get involved and begin hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

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