Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

A shift from ladders to illuminated platforms allows pickers to work day or night.

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  • Pruning is key in cherry production

Pruning is key in cherry production

  • December 1st, 2010

Pruning is the whole foundation of good cherry production, says David Geen, who grows 270 acres of cherries in orchards overlooking Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada.

The vast majority of the cherries that he grows at Coral Beach Farms, Ltd., at Winfield, are varieties bred in Summerland, British Columbia. [...]

  • Farming THE SUN

Farming THE SUN

  • December 1st, 2010

Sol Orchard installed this one-megawatt solar panel project for California’s Victor Valley College.

Imagine a crop without worries of labor, pests, rain during harvest, and rising fertilizer costs. In the near future, there’s potential for such a crop, and it’s one that most growers could produce with little impact on [...]

  • Cherry harvest shifts later

Cherry harvest shifts later

  • December 1st, 2010

At one time, when she grew standard cherry varieties, such as Van, Lambert, Star, and Stella, harvest ended in July at Christine Dendy’s orchard in East Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Now, with some of the latest releases from British Columbia’s cherry breeding program, such as Sovereign and Sentennial, she’s just [...]

  • An oddly grand apple

An oddly grand apple

  • December 1st, 2010

That Gala apple sport called Grand Gala apparently deserves its name, and researchers at Purdue University have found out why.

It’s because of a process called endoreduplication—never before found in apples—in which cells in the fruit carry out an unusual cell division, doubling the DNA in the nucleus but not [...]

Nurseries need a tree counter

  • December 1st, 2010

Robotics scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania set out to develop a device to automatically measure the caliper of nursery trees in the field, but found that a simple tree counter would be more useful for the tree fruit industry.

Dr. Sanjiv Singh and colleagues began to develop the [...]

  • How do platforms impact workers?

How do platforms impact workers?

  • December 1st, 2010

Kit Galvin of the University of Washington explains how she is studying the health impacts of platform work. Rolf Luehs (on the platform), research assistant with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, demonstrates how workers wear monitors to measure their body movements and heart rate.

University of Washington scientists are [...]

  • Totally RED

Totally RED

  • October 1st, 2010

Because the red pigments are antioxidants, red-fleshed apples do not turn brown when sliced.

Swiss nursery owner and fruit breeder Markus Kobelt hit the headlines across Europe with the ­latest apple varieties he released. They are among the first red-fleshed apples in the world to go into commercial production.

Kobelt, who [...]

  • Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

  • October 1st, 2010

Entomologists in the Pacific Northwest intend to find out how well the spotted wing drosophila can survive the region’s cold winters.

The pest, a native of Asia, was first seen in ­California in 2008. It was found in Oregon and British Columbia in 2009, and turned up in eastern ­Washington [...]

In the Box

  • October 1st, 2010

Dear Good Fruit Grower:
Can sweet cherries be grown in USDA climate zone 4—successfully?

I live 20 miles north of Minneapolis in Minnesota. In the spring of 2008, I put in a test plot of sweet cherries. I planted 170 bare root trees in a Spanish Bush setting of six [...]

Keeping the customer satisfied

  • October 1st, 2010

Over the past ten years I have initiated a number of research trials that, when taken together, tell an important story about the link between apple quality and profitability. I often quote my mantra that “we are in the food business” along with McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even the slow [...]

Mysterious ailment strikes

  • October 1st, 2010

A mysterious disease that has been killing the best looking, reddest strains of McIntosh apples in the nicest orchards in the northwest quadrant of Michigan has tentatively been identified, and growers now have some idea what to do about it.

“We’re not quite there yet,” said Dr. George Sundin, the [...]

WSU releases second new apple, called WA 5

  • October 1st, 2010

Just a year after the release of WA 2, WSU’s apple breeding program in Wenatchee is releasing its second new cultivar, WA 5. WA 5 is sufficiently different from WA 2 in ripening season, appearance, and eating quality to justify its release.

With a bright orange-red stripe covering 60 to [...]