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Cornell research points the way to better hard cider

Gregory Peck. (Photo: Lindsay France/Cornell Marketing Group)

Gregory Peck. (Photo: Lindsay France/Cornell Marketing Group)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-09-26]

Consumer interest in hard cider in North America has blossomed in the past five years, and apple growers are racing to catch up. Cornell research is revealing ways in which apples grown with specific orchard management practices can produce more desirable hard cider for consumers in this surging market.

Gregory Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, found standard orchard conditions for apples grown for consumption – the vast majority of orchards in the U.S. – are very different from the ideal conditions for hard cider apples.

Apples grown for raw consumption are thinned on the trees to a low-crop load, so that each apple grows bigger, juicier and sweeter. But for hard cider, a heavier crop load, with smaller, bitter fruits may be better, according to Peck’s research published in the September issue of HortScience. That’s because the smaller apples have a higher concentration of polyphenols, or tannins, which affect astringency and bitterness in the cider.

In wine production, there’s a body of research on how to influence tannins and flavor compounds, including which varieties to plant, how much sunlight and fertilization to provide, and preferred crop-load density. Peck is trying to apply the lessons learned by winemakers to the budding hard cider industry.

Read the whole article.

Cider tasting and more at Cornell Orchards Oct. 2

Cornell Hard Cider Working Group Presents @ The Cornell Orchards
709 Dryden Rd. (Rt. 366), Ithaca, NY 14853
Sunday October 2, 12:00-4:00pm, with walking tours at 1:00pm and 3:00pm

Ever wonder what makes an apple variety desirable for cider production? Or, why there are so many different flavors in cider? Then you won’t want to miss this tasting opportunity at the Cornell Orchards.

During this Finger Lakes Cider Week event, children and adults can taste dozens of different apple varieties, including traditional European hard cider varieties. Participants will be able to create their own cider blends made with freshly squeezed apple juice from these apple varieties. Regional cider producers including, Black Diamond CiderGood Life CiderRedbyrd Orchard CiderRootstock Ciderworks, and South Hill Cider will share tastings of their ciders and discuss how Cornell’s research and outreach efforts have aided their business.

The day will also include talks from Cornell researchers and educators and walking tours of a new high-density hard cider research orchard.

Greg Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Come taste cider apple varieties and juice and learn more about Cornell’s research on cider apple varieties from Greg Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science.

More events featuring Cornell people during cider week:

More information:

Tomato production in high tunnels workshop Sept. 10

high stakes banner

High stakes: Tomato production in hoop houses

Hosted by Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Saturday September 10 at 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Extending the New York growing season with unheated greenhouses (also called high tunnels or hoop houses) is a growing technology with organic vegetable farmers. At this workshop led by one of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s vegetable specialists, we will discuss the production of tomatoes in high tunnels, strategies to manage soil and plant nutrient levels, tomato disease management, and other topics in Dilmun Hill’s new moveable high tunnel. All knowledge and experience levels are welcome.

More info.

First Farmers’ Market at Cornell of the season

market logoHundreds flocked to the west end of the Ag Quad Thursday for the first Farmers’ Market at Cornell of the season.

Vendors included …

The Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

SoHo at Farmers Market

Dilmun Hill Student Farm:

dilmun-farmers-market

Markets run Thursdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. View vendors.

Photos: Matt Hayes, CALS Communications.

Tour the Galapagos with Mark Bridgen

Mark Bridgen

Mark Bridgen

Mark Bridgen, Horticulture Section professor and director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, will lead an eco tour and natural history workshop to the Galapagos Islands June 1 – 12, 2017.

Participants will spend a full 11 days/10 nights aboard the Tip Top IV yacht visiting all of the significant outer islands, allowing for maximum wildlife observations. Each day the yacht travels to a different island during the night while people are sleeping. Then, early in the morning, the small group will go ashore to observe and photograph the unique wildlife — the same types of plants and animals that led Darwin to his Theory of Evolution when he visited in 1835.

Every day is different as the group voyages around the archipelago, and every excursion offers new opportunities to experience the natural wonders of the Galápagos. The days are filled with early-morning and late-afternoon outings to catch the peak animal activity, including land iguanas, sea lions, giant tortoises, and countless types of unique birds. There are also one or two snorkeling sessions during the days to observe the coral reefs, sea lions, Galápagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea turtles, hundreds of fish, and much more. There will be the opportunity to kayak several of the days and the evenings are devoted to natural history lectures and stargazing.

More information.

Kao-Kniffin kicks of Horticulture seminar series Monday 8/29

Kao-Kniffin

Kao-Kniffin

Jenny Kao-Kniffin, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, kicks off the Fall 2016 Horticulture Section Seminar Series on Monday, August 29, 2016 at 12:20 p.m. in 404 Plant Science Building.

She will speak on Modifying plant-biotic interactions in rhizospheres for novel weed management approaches.

This and other Horticulture Section seminars are also available via videoconference to A134 Barton in Geneva. View the full fall line-up for the seminar series.

Most seminars are also recorded and available online on the Horticulture Section seminar YouTube playlist.

 

 

30+ attend Cornell Kale Day

Griffiths introduces Kale Day participants to his breeding research trials.

Griffiths introduces Kale Day participants to his breeding research trials.

More than 30 seed growers, researchers, food industry representatives, consumers and others attended the first Cornell Kale Day at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y. August 23.

Phillip Griffiths, associate professor in the Horticulture Section, welcomed the group  by pointing out the rapid growth in kale’s popularity, but also cautioning that it takes time to develop new varieties with superior agronomic traits and consumer appeal.

Griffiths’ efforts to breed new leafy brassicas began in 2008 with a focus on African kale (sukuma wiki). This effort expanded with support from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, incorporating diverse genetic material from collections maintaining biodiversity.

Participants spent most of the afternoon touring Griffiths’ breeding research, including plots featuring currently available varieties and breeding lines in various stages of refinement. To get feedback from the group, participants were asked to flag their favorite varieties. The feedback will help guide decisions for what hybrids will be used in on-farm trials next summer funded by  the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI), says horticulture graduate student Hannah Swegarden, who works with Griffiths.

One of the hybrids in development .

One of the hybrids in development . (Photo: Matt Hayes)

More field day reports:

Horticulture Graduate Field Review

Faculty, graduate students and staff associated with the Graduate Field of Horticulture held their biannual Field of Horticulture Graduate Student Reviews and Field Meeting August 19 in Jordan Hall at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Geneva, N.Y.

Seventeen students and three faculty gave 2-minute/2-slide flash presentations about their research progress, in addition to two longer talks. During breaks, students presented posters providing more details about their work.

Horticulture chair Steve Reiners used the occasion to present NYSAES director Susan Brown with the Wilder Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) recognizing the contributions of her apple breeding work to advancements in pomology.

Graduate Field of Horticulture, August 19, 2016.

Graduate Field of Horticulture, August 19, 2016.

An engaging poster session.

An engaging poster session.

Susan Brown (right) shows her Wilder Award medal to Hannah Swegarden, president of the Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo).

Susan Brown (right) shows her Wilder Award medal to Hannah Swegarden, president of the Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo).

50+ attend reduced tillage field day

More than 50 growers, educators and others attended the Reduced Tillage in Organic Vegetables Field Day at Cornell’s Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y. August 17.

The hay wagon tour include stops on the NOFA-NY certified organic portion of the Thompson Farm to view research on reduced tillage practices on permanent beds, a strip tillage demonstration, and talks on pests, organic soil amendments and soil health.

The farm is managed by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. The event was co-sponsored by NOFA-NY.

Research technician Ryan Maher explains his trial evaluating reduced tillage practices on permanent beds.

Research technician Ryan Maher explains his trial evaluating reduced tillage practices on permanent beds.

Christy Hoepting, Extension vegetable specialist for the Cornell Vegetable Program, discusses organic management of Swede midge, a growing pest problem in brassica crops.

Christy Hoepting, Extension vegetable specialist for the Cornell Vegetable Program, discusses organic management of Swede midge, a growing pest problem in brassica crops.

Anusuya Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, explains features of strip tillage equipment used to limit soil disturbance to the area around the row and break up hardpans that limit rooting.

Anusuya Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, explains features of strip tillage equipment used to limit soil disturbance to the area around the row and break up hardpans that limit rooting.

Attendees await strip tillage demo.

Attendees await strip tillage demo.

 

USDA apple, grape and tart cherry collection tour Sept. 17

apple and grape cultivarsFrom C. Thomas Chao, horticulturist and curator for the national clonal germplasm collections of apples, cold-hardy grapes, and tart cherries of the Plant Genetic Resources Unit, USDA-ARS at Geneva, NY.:

Mark your calendar…

On September 17,  the Clonal Collection of Plant Genetic Resources Unit, USDA-ARS, Geneva, NY will host its annual open house from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the McCarthy Farm, 2865 County Road 6 (Preemption Road), Geneva, NY, 14456 (across from St. Mary’s Cemetery).

There will be a two hour walking tour on uneven ground through the orchard and vineyard to view the collection — about 10 minutes about the overall collection, 10 minutes about the tart cherry collection, 70 minutes about the apple collection, and 30 minutes about the grape collection.

f there is any question, please contact me at c.thomas.chao@ars.usda.gov or at 315-787-2454.

We will see you rain or shine on 9/17/2016.

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