The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

NOFA/Mass Late Blight Resource Page

(Past Project: Northeast Organic Grower Survey on 2009 Late Blight Pandemic)

As of its release on November 12, 2009, NOFA/Mass conducted a Northeast region-wide study on the experiences organic tomato growers had with late blight during the 2009 growing season. The survey response deadline is January 1, 2010. If you grew or tried to grow tomatoes in 2009 and you used organic practices to do it, we want to hear from you about your experience with late blight. By gathering responses from a wide array of growers, NOFA/Mass hopes to contribute to our shared understanding of what organic growing practices for tomatoes were actually applied in 2009 and also hopefully shed light on strategies that can be effective in managing the disease. The insights collected will be presented at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference on January 16, 2010, in the Spring 2010 Edition of The Natural Farmer, and here on the NOFA/Mass Late Blight Resource Page. We are seeking response from growers in MA, VT, CT, RI, NY, NJ, ME, NH, and PA.

NOFA/Mass received a $5,000 grant from Whole Foods Market to support the gathering and dissemination of information for this research project.

If you have any questions about this survey, contact Ben Grosscup,, 413-658-5374.

Past events:

NOFA/Mass Winter Conference 2010
On Saturday, January 16, 2010 at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference in Worcester, MA, a panel was held on planning for dealing with Late Blight in the 2010 Growing Season.

David Fisher of Natural Roots in Conway, MA reported on his record tomato success in 2009. Despite some late blight infestation, using both copper and biological fertility practices, he achieved yields that were 238% of the average of the previous 5 years. Download the Power Point File below.

Ben Grosscup of NOFA/Mass presented preliminary results of the NOFA/Mass’ Northeast Organic Grower Survey on the 2009 Late Blight Pandemic including graphs on the differences in late blight infestation by greenhouse use, mulching, pruning, and treatments used. Download the Power Point File below.

Dan Kittredge of the Real Food Campaign touched upon biological techniques for managing late blight, emphasizing why certain fertility practices can improve plant resilience in the presence of disease vectors. Click here for audio of the entire panel: click here

NOFA Summer Conference 2009
On Sunday, August 9, 2009 at the NOFA Summer Conference, held at UMass Amherst, there was a forum held on organic methods for dealing with late blight. Panelists included: UMass Extension Vegetable Specialist, Ruth Hazzard; Farmer and director of the Real Food Campaign -- a project of Remineralize the Earth -- Dan Kittredge; New York State Integrated Pest Management Program extension educator, Abby Seaman; owner of Kingbird Farm and organic potato and tomato grower, Michael Glos; and founder of Fungi Perfecti, Paul Stamets.

The following slide show presentations (posted in PDF format) were presented at the forum:

An audio recording of the panel is available online here: A press release on this event from August 4, 2009 is available here: Organic Food Conference Invites Public to Discussion on Late Blight A story on this meeting was published in the Hampshire Gazette on Monday, August 10, 2009: Late Blight a heart breaker for tomato growers by Nick Grabbe, Hampshire Gazette

Other Informational Resources:
"Late Blight Survey: Results point to need for further research" by Rebekah L. Fraser , s. Gives a summation of the info presented at the 2010 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference panel on late blight.

"Got Late Blight? Guidance for Next Year's Garden" By Dr. Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D., NOFA Vermont's Vegetable and Fruit Technical Assistance Advisor

"Late blight management for fall, winter and spring -- A Gardeners' Checklist " By Ruth Hazzard. 2009. University of Massachusetts Extension.

"Organic management of late blight of potato and tomato (Phytophthora infestans)" By Alex Stone. 2009. Oregon State University. E-Organic.

"Late Blight: What Can Organic Farmers Do?" By Kimberly Stoner. 2009. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Gleanings, Newsletter of CT/NOFA.

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