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May 11, 2006

Native Fruits from Oikos

Came across this place a while ago...I can't remember if I posted it, but it won't kill you to see it twice if I did. Oikos Tree Crops, located in Michigan, is an unusual take on the standard fruit nursery. Rather than the usual set of cultivars of the usual set of crops, Oikos features native and wild species. And, importantly, they deal primarily in seed propagated plants, meaning each individual is genetically unique. While not a good tactic for guaranteeing the very highest quality, it's still a good long-term strategy, maintaining genetic diversity and the tantalizing (albeit tiny) possibility of each seedling being the next great cultivar.

Anyway, I don't know much about this place beyond its catalog (though a friend of a friend recommends their 'Regent' saskatoon), but it's a fascinating concept. A few of these species I've never seen offered by a nursery, like the wild blueberry Vaccinium pensylvanicum, and the Dunbar's Plum (Prunus xdunbari...a hybrid of the beach plum (Prunus maritima) and the American Plum (Prunus americana)).

I'm going to try to get another Fruit Genetics Friday episode up later tonight, but I make no promises. I've got a meeting tomorrow in Jacksonville that I'm presenting at, and I need to be up early, and I'll be gone all day, so no sneaking in a post at work. Plus I've got to look respectable, which is always a bit of a stretch. So anyway, if not tonight, then maybe Saturday. I'm pretty flexible on the whole "friday" thing.

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