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July 6, 2008

The Cornell Apple Breeding Program

I just came across this piece on ScienceDaily about the Cornell apple breeding program and its breeder, Dr. Susan Brown. Susan a former colleague of mine and a really nice woman, and she runs a pretty cool program. The New York State apple breeding program has been around for a long, long while, and it's had lots of successes: probably the one the most people see regularly is 'Jonagold' (which, following a rather disappointingly unoriginal naming scheme that appears to have had a run of popularity, is a cross of 'Jonathan' and 'Golden Delicious'), but there are many other commercially successful apples to come out of it as well. 'Empire' is a long time favorite of mine that I sometimes see in stores (though not nearly as much now that I don't live in New York), and 'Macoun' and 'Cortland' are well known in their own niches as well. ('Liberty' is popular in some circles for its disease resistance, though I have to say it never really impressed me in terms of eating quality).

Anyway, I'm always pleased to see fruit breeders popping up in the media, especially ones I know.

The Time is Ripe For An Apple That Tastes Like Berries And One That Doesn't Brown (ScienceDaily)

(Speaking of fruit breeders in the media, look for yours truly on the Food Network sometime in the near future!)

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6 Comments:

At 7/06/2008 08:54:00 PM, Blogger Brandon Hurr said...

That Apple repository up there must be amazing. I met this graduate student from Michigan State Uni. Nobuko Sugimoto who presented some data on the volatile output of a few hundred apple cultivars from there. It was insane how different they were in volatile output. Sounds like a lot of good work going on up there.

 
At 7/07/2008 01:35:00 AM, Blogger Evil Fruit Lord said...

I never got to sample as much fruit from the repository as I'd have liked (the apples, that is...I spent more time with the grapes). It was really impressive-looking when the apples were all in flower, especially the odd species and crab apples with blazing pink or red flowers.

There really is a tremendous amount of diversity in there. With the grapes, too--our nursery was next to that block, and sometimes instead of going back in for a break I'd just take a stroll through the repository vineyard.

Sadly, like virtually all government ag research, they're constantly fighting to keep their heads above water financially, but so far they seem to be getting by.

 
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