Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Revolution for INNOVATION

Revolution for INNOVATION

  • December 1st, 2010

Trellis posts in New York are vibrated in, not pounded, using down pressure from a loader and a vibrating cam.

Growers in western New York are convinced they need to mechanize their fruit operations and improve labor efficiency if they are to flourish in the future, and they’re moving rapidly [...]

  • 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. [...]

Fruit region is electric vehicle hub

  • December 1st, 2010

The days of 30-cents-per-gallon gasoline are long gone, but new electric vehicles can run on the equivalent of that in areas of the country where power rates are low.

North central Washington State, with its cheap hydropower and emerging wind and solar projects, has become a hub for efforts to [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

  • December 1st, 2010

Critical components of the DBR harvester are the vacuum tubes (green ones carry apples), the decelerator wheels (circular steel), and the elephant-ear fruit distributor (fan-like device above apples). Here, a full bin is being lowered to the ground during a demonstration at Mike Rasch’s orchard in August.

The vacuum system [...]

  • 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 [...]

More cherries in the pipeline

  • December 1st, 2010

New, late-maturing cherry varieties developed in British Columbia, Canada, have helped keep the province’s cherry growers in ­business.

“At one stage, the cherry industry was dwindling away until these late varieties were introduced,” recalled Dr. Frank Kappel, cherry breeder at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland.

The Summerland program continues [...]

  • Breeders seek input  from supply chain

Breeders seek input from supply chain

  • December 1st, 2010

The apple, cherry, peach, and strawberry breeding activities of RosBREED are located across the United States at university, federal, and private sector locations.

What do genomics and socioeconomics have to do with deciding which fruit cultivar to plant next year?  Until now, not very much, but that is about to [...]

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 [...]

  • Steps to commercialization

Steps to commercialization

  • October 1st, 2010

New apple varieties from Washington State University are evaluated and ­commercialized under the following general guidelines.

Phase 1: Initial seedling selection and evaluation The Washington Apple Breeding Program evaluates many thousands of seedlings, with input from its Industry Advisory Council. The breeding program identifies selections for ­advancement to Phase 2.

Phase 2: [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]