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Broccoli for the East

Team members evaluate broccoli varieties in Albion, N.Y. From left: Mary Van Ryn, broccoli breeder for Bejo Seed Co.; Thomas Bjorkman, assistant professor of horticulture; and Christy Hoepting, extension educator with the Cornell Vegetable Program.

Team members evaluate broccoli varieties in Albion, N.Y. From left: Mary Van Ryn, broccoli breeder for Bejo Seed Co.; Thomas Bjorkman, assistant professor of horticulture; and Christy Hoepting, extension educator with the Cornell Vegetable Program.

From October 25 Cornell Chronicle article, CU-led team aims to develop $100M eastern broccoli industry.

“[A] Cornell-led team of industry and academic researchers seeks to develop a $100 million broccoli industry on the East Coast over the next 10 years with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The $3.2 million grant, with an additional $1.7 million in matching contributions from participating companies that will work on the project at their own expense, will help develop broccoli germplasm to suit eastern conditions, recruit farmers and organize networks for growers and distributors. Recent developments in broccoli breeding have made plants more tolerant to eastern heat and humidity, a major obstacle to growing broccoli in the East. The project will increase eastern U.S. production from isolated pockets to a regional year-round market for eastern consumers.

“‘Our assembled team of breeders, production specialists and market developers have the breeding stocks and expertise to develop an eastern broccoli industry,’ said Thomas Bjorkman, Cornell associate professor of horticulture and the project’s principal investigator. …

“‘We are simultaneously developing a grower base, distribution network and market,’ said Bjorkman. ‘Trying to do one part at a time is sure to fail. It is only by having a comprehensive team such as ours that we can make all the parts of the industry work,’ he added.”

Read the whole article.

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