New approaches to frost control

The height of the vines influences how they fare during cold weather.

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  • Market limitations

Market limitations

  • December 1st, 2009

How new varieties will coexist with those that have already carved out shelf space is the million-dollar question.

The biggest change from a marketer’s standpoint in the next decade will be the influence of the club varieties on the marketplace, says Bob Mast, marketing director at CMI (Columbia ­Marketing International) [...]

  • Growing nitrogen on the side

Growing nitrogen on the side

  • December 1st, 2009

Dr. Steve Fransen points out that the ladino clover had pink root nodules, indicating that it was fixing nitrogen.

As commercial nitrogen fertilizers become more expensive, and potentially more limited in supply, the idea of growing fertilizer in the orchard is being explored.

Quincy, Washington, fruit grower Warren Morgan, who is [...]

  • Past, present, and future

Past, present, and future

  • December 1st, 2009

Chuck Peters designed his new pear orchard with mechanization and new technologies in mind.

It might be possible to develop apples with yet-to-be-identified health benefits, says orchardist Chuck Peters.

When Chuck Peters, a pear grower from Yakima, Washington, was asked in 1987 to predict what the fruit industry would be dealing [...]

Identity crisis

  • December 1st, 2009

The flood of new apple varieties will continue until the consumer is so confused about the Washington apple identity that they might turn to something else that they can identify, predicts Dr. Don Heinicke, a grower at Orondo in north central Washington. Heinicke was asked to revisit the 1987 [...]

Cherry Institute looks to the future

  • December 1st, 2009

As the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry industry moves toward larger crops in the future, it will take the industry working together to achieve success, says the president of Northwest Cherry Growers. The Cherry Institute, scheduled for January 15 at the Convention Center in Yakima, Washington, aims to bring all [...]

  • Blast from the past

Blast from the past

  • December 1st, 2009

Robots harvesting fruit, scientists creating the perfect apple trees in petri dishes, and a fruit industry run by conglomerates were just some of the changes envisioned for the next half century by industry leaders, as the Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1987.

Because [...]

  • Wind of change

Wind of change

  • December 1st, 2009

“Change is in the wind,” an article in the Good Fruit Grower declared in 1987, which was a year of milestones for the Washington tree fruit industry.

The industry harvested record apple and pear crops that year. The apple crop came in at 68 million boxes of apples, a leap [...]

Good to Know – Barritt, Evans

  • November 1st, 2009

Since 1994, Washington State University has strived to develop new apple cultivars with outstanding eating quality as quickly as possible. After 15 years, the WSU apple breeding program is releasing its first apple cultivar. The apple, currently known as WA 2, has outstanding eating quality, appearance, and productivity, and, [...]

  • Next big thing testing Mairac

Next big thing testing Mairac

  • November 1st, 2009

The new variety Mairac in being grown in a test plot in the Wenatchee, Washington, area.

Two partners in the European commercialization company VariCom, Michael Weber and Bruno Essner, traveled to the United States in late September to appraise their varieties in test plots.

VariCom has applied for plant variety rights [...]

  • On the fast track

On the fast track

  • November 1st, 2009

Michael Weber picks some samples of Mairac in a Washington State test planting.

With apple variety breeders putting a strong emphasis on accelerating the breeding process, it only makes sense to commercialize the resulting varieties as quickly as possible.

That’s the opinion of Michael Weber, managing director of a Swiss company [...]

  • Novel approach

Novel approach

  • November 1st, 2009

Pete Van Well (left) and Alessio Martinelli of CIV, Italy, admire the color of Rubens apples in Wenatchee, Washington, just before harvest.

Rubens, a new apple variety from Italy, will be commercialized in North America in a novel way that is designed to reduce the risk for producers and to [...]

MSU leads RosBREED project

  • November 1st, 2009

Michigan State University researchers will lead a four-year, $14.4-million grant-funded research project aimed at improving fruit quality, collaborating with nearly a dozen U.S. ­institutions and six international partners.

Dr. Amy Iezzoni, MSU cherry breeder, heads the RosBREED project, aiming to combine emerging DNA sequence and research findings to improve the [...]