Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NPR story about raspberries in NC!

Julie Zickefoose is a commentator on NPR.  This year she planted some raspberries and is now waiting for the fruit next year. Click on the link below to hear or read her full story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ISHS HIgh Tunnel Symposium

I am attending the ISHS High Tunnel Symposium in State College, PA. Yesterday we toured the high tunnels at the Penn State University Center for Plasticulture. They have 39 single bay high tunnels at this one location. They grow a wide range of crops, including some very nice looking ginger, lettuce, louffa sponge, okra, pimiento and various hot peppers, edible squash flowers,  and lots of brassica crops at this time of the year.

However, the highlight of my day was seeing primocane-fruiting blackberry and raspberry trials in tunnels. Normally central PA will get a killing frost in the first week of Ocotober. However, Kathy Demchak, the Small Fruit Extension Specialist showed us a tunnel with several numbered selections of primocane-fruiting blackberry, and they all were still producing flowers and fruit in mid October. We also saw a trial of 'Heritage' and 'Nantahala', two late varieties of raspberry that were full of fruit. We were able to sample both of these varieties and I am very pleased to report that everyone agreed that 'Nantahala's flavor was exceptional.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another grant! Red raspberry breeding this time.

A team of scientists from across the US and part of Canada have been funded by USDA-NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative to plan a breeding roadmap for US red raspberry cultivars. The roadmap will include developing a ranking system for existing and future cultivars in public breeding programs and identifying coordinated research steps to develop usable markers for resistance to certain pests, important horticultural traits and flavor characteristics sought by consumers. Together, this team will describe methods to address stumbling blocks existing within publically funded red raspberry breeding programs that are holding back increases in industry productivity and profitability. This $49,506 planning grant began on September 1, 2011. In order to collect stakeholder input, advisory boards will be recruited and public workshops will be offered.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Specialty Crop Grant Awarded

The USDA just announced its 2011 Specialty Crop awards. We were one of the lucky ones, our grant "Partner with North Carolina State University to develop high quality raspberry cultivars that can be grown in the southern United States and are suitable for both local sales and commercial shipping" was funded. To see what else was funded go to:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Newsletter from Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium

Here is a link to the most recent issue the Small Fruit News, a quarterly publication from the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium. There are several articles of interest for blackberry and raspberry growers, including an article on blackberry flavor written by Dr. John Clark, blackberry breeder from the University of Arkansas.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination | Video on

This is an amazing video. The entire video is stunning, however, I like the shots at 4:52 (bees hovering), 4:57 (raspberry flower and fruit) and 5:00 (ripening strawberry). My students will be seeing this next semester when I teach HS 422, Small Fruit Production.

Louie Schwartzberg: The hidden beauty of pollination | Video on