Archive for December, 2011

David Wolfe:  Those who make their living from the land will be on the front lines of confronting climate change.

David Wolfe: Those who make their living from the land will be on the front lines of confronting climate change.

Q&A: Reports from the front line of ideas for a sustainable planet [cover story in the Winter 2012 issue of Ezra, Cornell's quarterly magazine] – Quotes David Wolfe, professor in the Department of Horticulture and chair of the Atkinson Center Climate Change Focus Group: “It’s not just the thermometers telling us the climate is changing; the living world is already responding. As the planet warms, the range of many species is shifting northward, and in the spring plants are blooming earlier. Apples, lilacs and grapes are blooming four to eight days earlier than in the 1960s. Migrating birds and insects are also arriving sooner than expected. Those who make their living from the land will be on the front lines of confronting this challenge.”

Worm compost can suppress plant disease, regulate nutrients, research finds [Cornell Chronicle 12/21/2011] – Reports on work by Allison Jack and others in Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, and also on a project led by Neil Mattson, Department of Horticulture, to begin this spring focusing on vermicompost’s organic fertilizing capability. Mattson was awarded a $203,000, three-year grant from the USDA to study how organic growers can incorporate vermicompost into their potting mixes for better nutrient management. “What a lot of these growers tell us is fertility issues are the hardest to solve organically. This is a community that is doing a lot of great things. We want to make their production systems even more profitable. We want to promote production systems that promote healthy environments,” said Mattson.

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… from the Department of Horticulture

Happy holidays from the Dept. of Horticulture

… from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Happy holidays from CALS

… from Cornell University.

Happy holidays from Cornell University

To help spread some holiday cheer, Chair Marvin Pritts and his daughter delivered poinsettias donated by Hortus Forum, Cornell’s Student Horticulture Club, to John and Jennifer at Beechtree Care Center, Ithaca.

Staff members John and Jennifer at Beechtree Care Center receive Hortus Forum poinsettia donations.

Staff members John and Jennifer at Beechtree Care Center receive Hortus Forum poinsettia donations.

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Recent articles from the Cornell Chronicle:

Mario Miranda Sazo (front, left) with farmworkers.

Mario Miranda Sazo (front, left) with farmworkers.

Sessions in Spanish added to state ag expo to reach farmworkers [Cornell Chronicle 12/15/2011] – For the first time, the 2012 Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo and Direct Marketing Conference in January will feature 11 sessions in Spanish. Led by Extension associate Mario Miranda Sazo and several Cornell faculty and staff members, the sessions will address issues of “working smarter not harder” and provide basic information about plant physiology so employees will understand why farmers are asking them to do certain tasks.

Nina BassukFor each $1 invested into an urban tree, a city reaps $5 in benefit, says tree expert in NYC [Cornell Chronicle 12/12/2011] – The benefit of each urban street tree is worth about $135 to a city for the many roles that it serves, said Nina Bassuk (right), director of the Urban Horticulture Institute and professor in the Department of Horticulture, speaking on the benefit of urban trees at 92nd Street Y in New York City Dec. 7.

2 million pounds of CO2 — $230K — are saved in campus energy conservation contest [Cornell Chronicle 12/12/2011] – Barton Lab in Geneva, N.Y., placed first in the CALS Green pilot project. The friendly yearlong energy conservation aimed to cut energy use in six College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) buildings by encouraging such environmentally conscious behaviors as switching off lights, composting and closing fume hoods. Here’s what you can do to save energy over the holiday break.

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Jill J. McCluskey, Visiting Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management, talked on Reputations and Neighbors: Understanding Markets for Wine at a special AEM seminar, December 6, 2011. Here’s the video:

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Update 12/21/2011: Cornell Dairy egg nog has sold out. But there are still plenty of other reasons to shop at the Cornell Orchards store

Cornelia, the Cornell Dairy spokescow, wants to know if you’ve got egg nog.

Cornell Dairy’s premium egg nog is hand-crafted in small batches according to a traditional recipe, making it perfect for holiday gatherings. Make some traditions of your own with Cornell Dairy Egg Nog. Premium. Local. Just Plain Good.

And quarts are available at the Cornell Orchards retail store, while supplies last — as well as apples, cider, cooking pumpkins, squash, potatoes, honey, maple syrup and candy, Cornell and local gifts and more. Hours, directions and more information.

Hurry! Supplies limited.

Cornelia, the Cornell Dairy spokescow.

Cornelia, the Cornell Dairy spokescow.

View poster.

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Jonathon Comstock, research support specialist in the Department of Horticulture, addresses the workshop.

Jonathon Comstock, research support specialist in the Department of Horticulture, addresses the workshop.

More than 75 researchers from Cornell and other universities, as well as representatives from state and federal government agencies and environmental groups attended the “Climate Change and New York Ecosystems: Where Do We Go From Here?” workshop held in Ithaca on December 5, 2011. The workshop was sponsored by NYSERDA and the Cornell Climate Change Program Work Team (PWT).

Presentations included an overview of the recently released ClimAID study, and talks on the effects of climate change on New York’s forests, grasslands, wildlife, coldwater fisheries, urban forests, Adirondack ecosystems and more.

Speakers and breakout groups also addressed the challenges of coordinating research efforts, communicating the science of climate change to motivate change, and effective management, intervention and policy options.

View Powerpoint presentations from the workshop.

Attendees also received copies of the first four factsheets published by the PWT:

More factsheets are planned for release in 2012, and will also be available through the Cornell Climate Change website.

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Thompson Vegetable Research Farm manager Steve McKay loads bins of potatoes bound for Food Bank of the Southern Tier

Thompson Vegetable Research Farm manager Steve McKay loads bins of potatoes bound for Food Bank of the Southern Tier

This year’s ‘Food donations by the numbers … ‘

93,425 – Pounds of fresh produce from the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville donated in 2011 to food relief efforts such as Food Bank of the Southern Tier and other local organizations.

1,204,462 – Total pounds donated since 2004, including potatoes, sweet corn, snap beans, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, melons, winter squash and pumpkins.

322, 215 and 100 – Bushels of apples, gallons of cider and pounds of plums (along 6 pecks of pears and 30 pounds of grapes) donated by Cornell Orchards in 2011 to food pantries, schools and other organizations.

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Update: 1/26/2012: Registration now open. Visit Small Farms Program website for more information.

small farms program logoFrom Violet Stone, Cornell Small Farms Program, vws7@cornell.edu.

Please ‘save the date’ for the 2012 NYS Small Farms Summit scheduled for Wednesday, February 29th, from 9:30am – 3pm. The Summit is an interactive meeting with an opportunity for all participants to take part in lively discussion and provide important feedback, both locally, and across the state. We will be gathering in Ithaca, NY and at 4 other locations around New York State:

  • Voorheesville (Albany County)
  • Canton (St Lawrence County)
  • Warsaw (Wyoming County)
  • Riverhead (Suffolk County)

A video connection will allow us to communicate across sites.

Previous Small Farm Summits generated valuable feedback regarding opportunities and barriers affecting the success of small farms in NY. In response, the Cornell Small Farms Program has initiated key projects such as the award-winning Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry, sustainable farm energy field days, and a series of interviews with NYS food distributers that work with small farms, to name a few.

The Summit is free to attend and lunch will be provided. Farmer participation is especially encouraged and welcome. Registration details to follow in January, 2012.

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The new issue of Appellation Cornell (#8, December 2011) is available online. Features include:

View table of contents.

Appellation Cornell

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'Herriot' is attractive to farm-stand and pick-your-own customers.

'Herriot' is attractive to farm-stand and pick-your-own customers.

GENEVA, N.Y. – With high yields, good disease resistance, eye-appeal and a mild flavor with pineapple overtones, ‘Herriot’ is a sweet option for growers.

“‘Herriot’ is one tough plant,” says Courtney Weber, the berry breeder in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University who developed the variety. “Many of our trials are in the worst possible soil conditions, and ‘Herriot’ is always one of the last varieties standing. And it tastes good too!”

The new variety’s features include:

High yields. In trials and with commercial growers in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota and Ontario, ‘Herriot’ yielded as much as 60 percent more than ‘Jewel’, the predominant mid-season variety for perennial matted-row production that was also developed by Cornell. In trials at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., ‘Herriot’ harvest consistently begins two days before ‘Jewel’ with yields greater than or equal to that variety most years.

‘Herriot’ shows good resistance to common leaf diseases, and holds up well to summer renovation, allowing for wider adaptation to variable soils.

‘Herriot’ shows good resistance to common leaf diseases, and holds up well to summer renovation, allowing for wider adaptation to variable soils.

Beautiful berries. ‘Herriot’ produces large (up to 25 grams, averaging about 11 grams), heart-shaped, shiny red berries with a bright green calyx. “‘Herriot’ really draws the eye because of the nice shine on the fresh berries,” says Weber. “That makes them very attractive to farm-stand and pick-your-own customers.” Fruit is generally larger and more uniform than ‘Jewel’. Flavor is sweet and mild with light pineapple overtones.

Disease resistance. ‘Herriot’ shows good resistance to common leaf diseases, and holds up well to summer renovation, allowing for wider adaptation to variable soils. In Geneva, ‘Herriot’ blooms in mid-May, avoiding most damaging frosts.

The variety is named for the British author, James Herriot, one of Weber’s favorites.

Weber’s small fruits breeding program at Cornell is focused on developing improved strawberry and raspberry varieties for New York growers. Previous releases from Weber’s program – including ‘L’Amour’ and ‘Clancy’ strawberries and ‘Prelude’, ‘Encore’, and ‘Crimson Giant’ raspberries – have shown wide adaptation throughout New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest, as well as temperate regions of Europe.

Growers interested in trying ‘Herriot’ in 2012 can purchase plants from the licensed nurseries Krohne Plant Farms (www.krohneplantfarms.com, 269-424-5423) and Daisy Farms (www.daisyfarms.net 269-782-6321).

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