Updated: Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013, 2:20 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013, 11:51 PM EST
VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - Wabash Valley fruit and vegetable growers look to make a comeback following a deadly food borne disease outbreak last summer.
After fighting through a summer of drought many growers in southern Indiana cut short their late crops after a salmonella outbreak was traced back to a Gibson County melon farm.
With a new season on the horizon, officials are hoping some new information will help keep the fruit and vegetable business healthy this year.
It's the quiet season on the farms in southern Indiana, but in just a few months the equipment will be coming out of the sheds and the work will begin.
Growers here last year got slammed when their late season crops lost value after a salmonella outbreak was traced back to Indiana.
The problem on one Gibson County cantaloupe farm affected everyone.
"When it was reported there was a food safety problem in Indiana it did hurt the market for a lot of Indiana growers regardless of what produce they were growing and regardless of where the were growing it," said Dr. Dan Egel of Purdue University.
With the next season looming officials have planned a meeting for next week at the Southwest Purdue Ag Center to help growers turn out safer products.
"That meeting will tell growers, review, what happened in southern Indiana last year," said Egel. "What the problems were. It will review what to do about those problems."
Melons may have been the big issue last year, but Indiana produces all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
In fact, it's a $30 million industry.
One folks here want to make sure remains healthy.
"We want to make sure we can take away as much risk as we can and the growers also want to take away as much risk as they can," said Egel.
The hope is that by raising knowledge about food safety that this year will turn out to be a very productive and safe one.
Officials say that there is so much interest by growers, packers, and brokers that the meeting was expanded to include nearly 100 people and is now closed.
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