• Quality fruit is Rice heritage

Quality fruit is Rice heritage

  • January 1st, 2012

Mark Rice chose to go with Kiku, a high quality Fuji fruit strain that is easier to grow than Honeycrisp but can sell at a similar price.
Richard Lehnert

Members of the Rice family are slow to return to the family ­business, says Mark Rice. They sometimes take long detours, [...]

Georgia peach growers use H-2A

  • January 1st, 2012

Peach growers were conspicuously absent from the list of fruit and vegetable producers who suffered crop losses when some 11,000 seasonal farm workers failed to show up for harvest.

The reason? Most of Georgia’s peach crop is picked by H-2A workers. They didn’t shun Georgia after the state passed anti-illegal-immigrant [...]

  • Blossom thin peaches

Blossom thin peaches

  • December 1st, 2011

Katy Lesser Clowney, while working at the Adams County extension office, found the Darwin at a show in Europe and suggested it be tried out. She has been involved in testing it.
Steve Hollabaugh

The Darwin mechanical string thinner, developed in Europe for thinning organic apples at blossom time, has [...]

  • On a FasTrack

On a FasTrack

  • November 1st, 2011

Horticulturist Ralph Scorza pollinates plum flowers while geneticist Ann Callahan measures sugar content and molecular biologist Chris Dardick measures fruit size. FasTrack allows scientists to pollinate flowers and evaluate fruit from the same plants in the greenhouse year round.

FasTrack is the name of a new plant breeding process developed [...]

  • South Carolina peach breeder wants better peaches, faster

South Carolina peach breeder wants better peaches, faster

  • November 1st, 2011

Ksenija Gasic heads Clemson University’s peach-breeding program, which was recently revived after a 25-year hiatus.
Richard Lehnert

One of the great things about being a peach breeder in a new peach breeding program is no hangover—nothing left, no seedlings to evaluate, no big shoes to fill.

That’s the situation Dr. Ksenija [...]

More late cherries coming

  • October 1st, 2011

A new tree-fruit acreage survey in Washington State shows a decline in all tree fruits except cherries over the past five years, and suggests that the state will be harvesting more late-season cherries in the future.

The survey, compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows that Washington has 234,000 [...]

  • Southeastern peaches enter Mexican markets

Southeastern peaches enter Mexican markets

  • September 1st, 2011

H-2A workers in the Titan Farms packing plant cheered when they found their peaches were going to their home country.
Richard Lehnert

For the first time since 1994, peaches from the southeastern United States moved into stores in Mexico in June this year.

The breakthrough came after about five years of [...]

  • Michigan grower sees bright future for plums

Michigan grower sees bright future for plums

  • September 1st, 2011

Some of Rood’s older plum trees show there can be problems. This tree shows rootstock compatibility problems, and the bark cracks persistently, even when painted and several years old.
Richard Lehnert

While Paul Rood is known in Michigan as the fruit grower with the pears, he thinks a real future [...]

  • Peach breeder Dick Okie retiring

Peach breeder Dick Okie retiring

  • August 1st, 2011

After 30 years breeding peaches for the South—15 in the Prince series alone—W.R. (Dick) Okie retired this year. He is still working until a successor is decided upon.
Courtesy of W.R. Okie

W.R. (Dick) Okie, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s stone fruit breeder in Byron, Georgia, for more than 30 years, [...]

  • Last Bite

Last Bite

  • August 1st, 2011

Elberta is not highly colored, but it has good flavor, bears dependably, and is widely adapted—traits the helped it dominate the peach industry for nearly a century.

Elberta, probably the most widely known peach variety ever, was the first large, firm, shippable peach that was yellow-fleshed, freestone, and melting. It [...]

  • Last Bite

Last Bite

  • July 1st, 2011

The Santa Rosa plum was the most widely grown plum in California until the mid-1970s.

The Santa Rosa plum, one of the most popular and widely known plum varieties in America, was named after the northern California city of Santa Rosa where Luther Burbank, the plum’s breeder, settled in 1875 [...]

  • Everything about PEACHES

Everything about PEACHES

  • July 1st, 2011

Desmond Layne’s work in peach cultivar evaluation means tasting a lot of peaches. “It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it,” he quips.
Richard Lehnert

Desmond Layne looks younger than he is, and he thinks young, too.

His goal is to use that modern information tool, the Internet, and [...]