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Kale Is About To Have An Identity Crisis

Photos: Hannah Swegarden

Photos: Hannah Swegarden

NPR’s The Salt [2016-11-28]:

Kale is getting a makeover, and the very essence of kaliness may hang in the balance.

To develop a new variety of kale tailored to American palates, horticulture professor Philip Griffiths of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science and graduate student Hannah Swegarden are soliciting consumers’ kale reflections — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The scientists face a philosophic question for the ages. Asks Swegarden:

“How far can you push a consumer’s concept of what kale is, before it’s not kale anymore?”

Kale, like many other vegetables, has been bred with agricultural practicality in mind, selected for virtues like drought- and disease-resistance. But Swegarden says those traits don’t necessarily translate into a better taste and appearance, qualities that matter more to consumers. Griffiths has been working with kale for years, so he and Swegarden decided to see if they could develop strains to seduce farmers and consumers alike.

Read the whole post.

 

Dreer Award offers opportunities to pursue horticultural interests abroad

From Nina Bassuk:

The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers a wonderful opportunity once a year, the Frederick Dreer Award, that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture.

See the application and instructions that spell out the procedure for applying. Basically it is quite simple. Submit a written proposal to the Dreer Committee by the deadline (March 6, 2017 in this cycle), which is followed by an informal interview, generally in a week or two. The faculty receives the recommendation of the Dreer Committee and votes on the nominee.

The only obligation of the Dreer award winner is to write to the Dreer Committee monthly while overseas, and upon return to the United States, give a presentation about their time abroad to students and faculty.

Please look into this opportunity seriously. It can be taken as a summer and a semester’s leave or a year’s leave of absence during school or upon graduation. If you would like to talk over a potential idea for the Dreer with a member of the Committee (and we encourage you to do so), please contact Nina Bassuk (Horticulture) Josh Cerra (Landscape Architecture) or Marvin Pritts (Horticulture).

2015 Dreer Award winner Adam Karl, now a PhD student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture, traveled to Spain to study dryland viticulture.

2015 Dreer Award winner Adam Karl, now a PhD student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture, traveled to Spain to study dryland viticulture.

Plant breeders take cues from consumers to improve kale

Hannah Swegarden, right, and technician Matt Wavrick transplant a kale cultivar from a research field at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, New York. (Photo: Matt Hayes/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)

Hannah Swegarden, right, and technician Matt Wavrick transplant a kale cultivar from a research field at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, New York. (Photo: Matt Hayes/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)

Cornell Chronicle [2-16-11-17]:

A Cornell program is reimagining kale – its color, shape and even flavor – in a bid to breed the naturally biodiverse vegetable for consumer satisfaction.

Traits of importance for plant production, such as resistance to disease, pests and drought are often a major focus for plant breeders. Consumers, however, are usually more interested in the culinary and aesthetic qualities of vegetables that directly impact their preparation in the kitchen.

Cornell vegetable breeder Phillip Griffiths, a professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, and doctoral student Hannah Swegarden have embarked on a program to identify the different leaf shapes, colors, flavors and textures favored by consumers, and breed for those traits.

Read the whole article.

Horticulture Section Wine Tour

From Hannah Swegarden, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

35 people attended Horticulture Wine Tour this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day and we visited Domaine Leseuerre, Keuka Brewing Co., and Keuka Lake Vineyards.  We even made it to Bully Hill to snap a picture:

soho wine tour at bully hill

Toward Sustainability Foundation grant deadline is Dec. 5

For more than 15 years, CALS has bolstered its sustainability research with a steady stream of gifts from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF), a Massachusetts-based organization founded by an anonymous, eco-minded Cornell alumna.

Since 1999, TSF provided more than $1.2 million in funding for more than 100 faculty and student projects that examine the technological, social, political, and economic elements of sustainable agriculture.

The deadline for proposals for the 2017 round of funding is December 5, 2016

Read more about TSF grants, download the full Request for Proposals, and view titles and contacts of recent projects.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a moveable high tunnell at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson '18.

A 2016 Toward Sustainability Foundation grant helped fuel construction of a movable high tunnel at Dilmun Hill Student Farm featuring an innovative design by Alena Hutchinson ’18.

Seminar video: Waste management at Cornell

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Waste management at Cornell: How does it work and why should we care? with Horticulture Sustainability Committee, it  is available online.

More information about Cornell University R5 Operations (Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): r5.fs.cornell.edu

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

150+ attend cider tasting, tours at Cornell Orchards

More than 150 people flocked to Cornell Orchards Sunday to sample cider from six local producers (Black Diamond CiderGood Life CiderRedbyrd Orchard CiderRootstock Ciderworks,  South Hill Cider and Star Cider), tour cider apple research plots, and mix their own juice blends from apple varieties grown expressly to enhance cider flavor. The event was part of Finger Lakes Cider Week, which continues through October 9.

If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed:

Horticulture professor emeritus Ian Merwin pours a sample of his Black Diamond Farm cider.

Horticulture professor emeritus Ian Merwin pours a sample of his Black Diamond Farm cider.

Multiple cider hues ready for tasting.

Multiple cider hues ready for tasting.

Slicing cider apples for sampling.

Slicing cider apples for sampling.

Horticulture graduate students Adam Karl and Nathan Wojtyna juice cider apples for hands-on 'make your own blend' tasting activity.

Horticulture graduate students Adam Karl and Nathan Wojtyna juice cider apples for hands-on ‘make your own blend’ tasting activity.

Assistant professor Greg Peck began the orchard tour in front of historic 100-year-old trees.

Assistant professor Greg Peck began the orchard tour in front of historic 100-year-old trees.

Later on the walk, participants viewed cider apple varieties newly established in a  modern, high-density planting.

Later on the walk, participants viewed cider apple varieties newly established in a modern, high-density planting.

' Ellis Bitter' a traditional English cider apple, is one of the many varieties in the trial.

‘ Ellis Bitter’ a traditional English cider apple, is one of the many varieties in the trial.

Picture Cornell

Among the images in the latest collection at Picture Cornell are these by  Lindsay France, Cornell Marketing Group:

Dilmun Hill Student Farm's pepper bounty, Sept. 1.

Dilmun Hill Student Farm’s pepper bounty, Sept. 1.

Graduate students and their families enjoy a breakfast at the Big Red Barn hosted by the Graduate School, Sept. 10. Pictured: Graduate Field of Horticulture student Ali Al Farqani.

Graduate students and their families enjoy a breakfast at the Big Red Barn hosted by the Graduate School, Sept. 10. Pictured: Graduate Field of Horticulture student Ali Al Farqani.

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, stops by the Dilmun Hill farm stand during the Ag Quad Farmers Market, Sept. 1.

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, stops by the Dilmun Hill farm stand during the Ag Quad Farmers Market, Sept. 1.

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.

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:

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