Congratulations to Dr. Amy Iezzoni who was selected this year’s Cherry Industry Person of the Year. Dr. Iezzoni will be recognized at Industry Day, scheduled for July 6th at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Station. Amy has spent her career breeding tart cherry selections. She is the only tart cherry breeder in the United States today. She is known throughout the world for her work, dedication, and interest in selecting tart cherry varieties that will better met the needs of both the industry and consumers. As we think about sustainability of our industry, new varieties that we spray less are essential, without sacrificing quality along the way.
There are very few true pioneers left in the world today who truly are dedicated to science and the industry. Dr. Amy Iezzoni is one of those few pioneers. I have had the privilege to work with Amy for over 25 years now and I know that growers matter to her. This past year Amy was the lead PI on the RoseBreed Project, which is a 14.4 million dollar research project that will speed up the development of new varieties of apples, peaches, strawberries, and cherries. All four of these fruits are members of the rose family, Rosaceae, and share lots of common genes.
The genes that make a cherry red also make an apple red. The genetic control of common traits is similar across the family, making this a great opportunity to bring together these fruit breeders world wide to work in unlocking the secrets that will speed up fruit breeding in the future.
It is a collaborative project like this one that makes Dr. Iezzoni unique and truly a dedicated researcher for U.S. fruit growers and a perfect selection for this year’s “Cherry Industry Person of the Year.”