Thursday, September 1, 2011

Caneberry Workshop

The Caneberry Workshop was a great success. We had over 60 participants, most were from North Carolina, but some even came from Illinois, Virginia and Kentucky! One of the goals of the workshop was to generate interest in growing caneberries in this part of the state. I think we succeeded in generating interest, I am hopeful that we will see some production in this area in the future.

The workshop featured work being done at the station by Drs. Hannah Burrack, Penny Perkins-Veazie and myself. (NB - this may have been the first workshop lead by all female NCSU faculty in history!) Dr. Burrack focused on her Spotted Wing Drosophila work, Dr. Veazie discussed pre and post harvest handling of fruit and I talked about the replicated trials of blackberries and raspberries in and out of tunnels.

I gave the participants a tour of the replicated breeding trials. The caneberry breeding program has several locations where we test our materials. One of the locations is here at the Upper Mountain Reserach Station in Laurel Springs. This is our highest sight, at about 2500-3000' elevation and is in USDA hardiness zone 6. The average high temperatures in summers are in the low 80's and nights are cool as well....compared to the rest of the state. Raspberries love it here!

At this location we have one of our mirror 'variety' trials. We have a mix of varieties and selections from our breeding program, USDA and other Univ. breeding programs as well as recently named varieties. Each of the varieties was growing both under high tunnels and outside of tunnels. This allows us to compare overall growth, ripening season and fruit quality among lots of other attributes. Primocane fruiting raspberries were in the early part of their season, while floricane fruiting types had finished a couple of weeks ago. Floricane fruiting blackberries were still producing fruit and primocane fruiting types were flowering and had lots of green fruit. We will post the data on the NC Market Ready Portal at the end of the season here:
(There is data from other locations at this site that you may want to check out as well).

Dr. Penny Perkins-Veazie discussed pre and post harvest handling of raspberry and blackberry fruit. Participants comments included, "I never knew raspberries came in so many different colors of red". They also learned that most customers don't like dark red berries. She also discussed how picking pink berries will last longer on the shelf.  She recently wrote an article about this. I will post a link on a later blog post.

Dr. Hannah Burrack discussed her work with spotted wing drosophila (SWD). This location is what she calls "Ground Zero" for SWD. Participants got to see SWD in all of its stages and learn more about how it impacts fruit production. She has a blog of her own where she regularly updates her findings.

A BIG thanks to all of the folks at the Upper Mountain Research Station that helped get the fields looking tip top and setting up the field and inside venue. I sincerely appreciate all you do for the caneberry programs. Sponsors included the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State University; the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

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