Martha Mutschler and Cornell Dining executive chef Steve Miller, who has tested about a dozen of Mutschler’s hybrids. (Jason Koski/University Photography.)
New mild onions offer great taste, long shelf life [Cornell Chronicle 2013-04-27] – Cornell researchers have developed new mild onions that will have chefs crying – tears of joy. Twelve years in development and with a couple years of testing to go, researchers say it will be just a few years before the mild locally grown onions are available to the public. “My goal was to develop a mild onion with higher brix, for better storability, and adapted to New York state long-day growing conditions,” says Martha Mutschler, professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics who developed the onions.
Northeast Farmers Urged to Plan Ahead for Climate Change [Lancaster Farming 2013-04-27] – “The assumption that our past historical climate can be used for decision-making is really no longer valid,” David Wolfe told the Climate Smart & Climate Ready Conference at the New York State Grange in Cortland, N.Y., April 19. “The generations of farmers before us could all rely on what the historical climate data told them, we can’t do that,” he said. “This is really the first generation of farmers to face this predicament and so really all of us — ag scientists, NGOs, government agencies and farmers — need to be developing new approaches to environmental monitoring so that we can keep ahead of what is changing out there.”
Awesome Vintage Apple Art: 9 Fruits You Won’t Find at Your Supermarket [Mother Jones 2013-04-26] – Reblogged from CALS Notes: [Mother Jones goes] ga-ga over the 1905 two-tome book The Apples of New York, one of the finest resources for the amateur New England apple enthusiast—“Its nearly 200 illustrations really are worth bragging about, and not just for their scientific value either. They capture the full beauty of apple hues during a time before widespread color photography.” On top of detailed historical and scientific scholarship of 800 apple varieties, the books also teaches readers step-by-step how to identify a mystery apple. Both Volume I and Volume II are available online.
The $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect March 1 — the sequester — may eventually cost Cornell $28 million universitywide, including Weill Cornell Medical College. The cuts would come mostly in support of research and student aid, administrators say. …
Cornell Cooperative Extension, which receives $11.6 million in federal funds, faces a 10 percent, $1.2 million, cut. CCE is reviewing applicable laws to determine which work is essential and what can be stopped. Among other steps to deal with the shortfall, CCE has suspended most out-of-state travel planned for later this year, put open staff positions on hold and is reviewing workforce reductions.
“We started our belt tightening last year in preparation for sequestration,” said Helene Dillard, professor of plant pathology and CCE director. “The CCE leadership team has helped me identify ways to streamline as much as we can without reducing the quality of our work. We have very hard-working, dedicated staff, and we are doing everything we can to avoid workforce reductions.”
Aid to the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (currently $5.9 million) and to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y. ($1.2 million) will be reduced. Both stations have been conservative in awarding federal money, said Margaret Ferguson, associate dean for finance and administration for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and “we will be able to manage a 5 to 10 percent reduction by reducing expenditures over the next seven months.”
Wearing a hat befitting the title, Sir Martin of the Cluster Primordia cuts the ceremonial cake.
Alan Lakso, Justine Vanden Heuvel, students in HORT/VIEN 4444 and others feted retired Senior Extension Associate Martin Goffinet on the occasion of his last teaching assignment. While widely recognized for his research and Extension efforts, Goffinet has generously shared his expertise in grapevine structure, anatomy and growth with students over the years.
Vanden Heuvel read a light-hearted proclamation from Chair Marvin Pritts and Associate Chair Susan Brown that sums up Sir Martin of the Cluster Primordia‘s contributions:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
Let it be known throughout the Kingdom of Horticulture, on this 27th day of February, in the Year of our Lord 2013, that Martin Goffinet is recognized for serving his King and Queen valiantly, with years of volunteer service above and beyond his ordained retirement date, and well in excess of what mere mortals usually give in service to the Kingdom.
Whereas his loyal subjects are most grateful for the cornucopia of knowledge and understanding he has generously bestowed;
And whereas the lords and ladies of the Kingdom are equally appreciative of Martin’s contributions to the education of their subjects and servants;
And whereas Martin is known throughout the empire as “just a really nice guy”;
Therefore, let it be known, from this day forward, that Martin Goffinet – despite his French-sounding name – will be heretofore known as Sir Martin of the Cluster Primordia – a title befitting only the most esteemed anatomists and knights.
Please accept our sincerest gratitude for a job well done, and may Pomona, Dionysus and Bacchus shower you with many blessings for as long as you choose to sit with the other Knights of the Round Table Grape.
King Marvin & Queen Susan
Goffinet’s ceremonial cake featured a frosting version of one of his classic grapevine anatomy images.
Poor children’s higher weights linked to less access to yards, parks [Cornell Chronicle 2/20/2013] – Low-income children may be overweight in part because they have less access to open green space where they can play and exercise, reports a Cornell study of obesity in Europe. “It is important to take an ecological perspective in thinking about the challenge of childhood obesity. The environment, personality, culture, stress, family history and economics likely all play an important role,” said lead author Gary Evans, the Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology in the Departments of Design and Environmental Analysis and of Human Development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.
Endowed NYSAES directorship paves way for agricultural innovation [Cornell Chronicle 2/13/2013] – In 2009, Businessman Larry Goichman ’66 and his wife, Jennifer, endowed the first professorship of enology and viticulture at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva. Now the Goichmans have increased their commitment to the endowment and the Geneva station, enabling a Goichman Family Directorship of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Imaging Facility adds two tools for microscopy [Cornell Chronicle 2/13/2013] – Cornell’s Imaging Facility, located in Weill Hall and in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has added a spinning disk confocal microscope that enables users to image and manipulate fluorescent specimens rapidly, and an instrument for laser capture microdissection, which allows researchers to isolate specific cells or tissues from a sample by slicing out particular regions with a laser.
Nature lovers invited to train as natural area mentors [Cornell Chronicle 2/12/2013] – Love spending time in the natural areas of the Finger Lakes region? Care about preserving the integrity of the natural world? Consider joining Cornell Plantations’ Natural Areas Academy (NAA). The year-long academy features dozens of expert-led workshops, field trips and directed stewardship opportunities designed to provide participants with the knowledge, tools and skills needed to support efforts in preserving natural resources.
Introducing ‘Arandell’ (formerly NY95.0301.01, left) and ‘Aromella’ (formerly NY76.0844.24, right). The new names of the grapes were announced February 7 at the Viticulture 2013 conference.
Cornell Chronicle article [2/7/2013] by Kate Frazer, agricultural stations communications officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
After a novel naming challenge drew more than 1,000 suggestions from around the world, a Cornell University breeder has revealed the secret identities of two new wine grapes: ‘Arandell’ and ‘Aromella’.
Bruce Reisch, professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, introduced the grapes at Viticulture 2013 in Rochester, N.Y., Feb. 7.
‘Arandell’—a mash-up of “arandano,” the Spanish word for blueberry, and the “ell” from Cornell—is the first grape released from The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s “no-spray” vineyard.
Reisch hopes its hint of blueberry will attract wine lovers, while its superior resistance to downy and powdery mildews will appeal to growers interested in more sustainable practices. Its name was suggested by Michael Fleischhauer, retired computer analyst and wine enthusiast from Juneau, Alaska.
‘Aromella’, an aromatic, muscat white wine grape, was named by Michael Borboa, a Californian winemaker and songwriter who used a lyric exercise he uses for writing songs. ‘Aromella’ ranks high for winter hardiness and productivity. Reisch says its release is timely given the growing popularity of muscat wines.
The project emerged almost accidently when Anna Katharine Mansfield, assistant professor of enology, suggested emailing colleagues to introduce two varieties ripe for naming. As news of their appeal spread through the proverbial grapevine, it attracted coverage from outlets including NPR’s Morning Edition and Bon Appétit online.
The New York Wine & Grape Foundation said a big “Thank You” to several individuals and businesses at its annual “Unity Banquet” on Wednesday, February 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rochester. Among them:
The Research Award, for major contributions in research and education to benefit the New York grape and wine industry, was presented to Dr. Martin Goffinet. A world expert in the structure, anatomy and growth of the grapevine, Martin’s research for over 30 years has provided important fundamental understanding of how grapes grow as well as the anatomical bases of many of practical problems.
The Industry Award, presented to an individual or organization which has made a major contribution in advancing the interests of the New York grape and wine industry, was presented to Cornell Cooperative Extension. For decades, “Extension,” as it is commonly known, has played a vital role in communicating the results of research and other important information to grape growers, winemakers, and others throughout New York State.
The contest drew over 1,000 entries from wine lovers on every continent, excepting Antarctica.
The winning names for the red and white wine grapes won’t be announced until Thursday, February 7 at the Viticulture 2013 conference in Rochester, N.Y.
But two of the losers — rather, runners-up — can be revealed now: Colbert Red and Stewart White.
In the videos below, Bruce Reisch, Department of Horticulture and Anna Katharine Mansfield, Department of Food Science, describe the wine made from the two new grapes and why ‘Colbert’ and ‘Stewart’ didn’t pass the sniff test.
Two professors lead national climate report [Cornell Chronicle 1/31/2013] – Americans can expect more heat waves, heavy downpours, floods and droughts, sea level rise and ocean acidification, according to a draft national climate assessment report that included two Cornell researchers as lead authors. David Wolfe (right), professor of horticulture, was a lead author on a Northeast climate section, and Drew Harvell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was a lead author of an oceans and marine resources section in the Federal Advisory Committee’s Draft Climate Assessment Report, released in January. “This document will be an essential science-based resource for decision-makers in our communities and businesses who are rolling up their sleeves to take on the challenges and build resilience to climate change,” said Wolfe, who chairs the Climate Change Focus Group at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.
New agricultural research funding model gains momentum [Cornell Chronicle 1/31/2013] – Every dollar invested in agricultural research produces an estimated $10 in economic returns and helps feed a growing population, according to the USDA Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Thomas Burr, associate dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), appealed to growers to make an investment in the future of their industries at a panel discussion at the Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Syracuse, N.Y., Jan. 22. Burr says the commitment of private grower groups to invest in research is a bright light, and he envisions a model that would scale up these groups’ investments and ensure they are matched by the state.
Changes in epigenome control tomato ripening [Cornell Chronicle 1/29/2013] – Scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have discovered a set of chemical changes to a plant’s DNA plays a pivotal role in tomato ripening, signaling to the fruit when the time is right to redden.
Ornamental grasses in midwinter sun, Minns Garden.
Winter Gardens at Cornell: Beauty In the Snow [Ithaca.com 1/23/2013] – Profiles Cornell Plantations’ winter crown jewel: the Mullestein Winter Garden. Among the other recommended winter campus destiations: “Minns Garden, located at the west end of Tower Road, is a colorful perennial garden providing four season interest with ornamental grasses, espaliered apple trees, and three botanically inspired steel entrance gates designed and built by local artist blacksmith Durand Van Doren in 2008.”
Wolfe and DeGaetano comment on Obama’s call for U.S. leadership on Climate Change [Cornell University Press Office 1/22/2013 – “It is very satisfying to see the top leadership of my own country, at long last, join the rest of the developed world in recognizing the importance this issue,” says David Wolfe, professor in the Dept. of Horticulture and the chair of the Climate Change Focus Group at Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. “Once the American people roll up their sleeves and get to work on this challenge, we will make things happen that will not only benefit our own economic development and national security, but will mobilize global action for a healthier and more prosperous environment for future generations.”
‘Double Gold’ and ‘Crimson Night’ are the fourth and fifth new berry varieties introduced by Associate Professor of Horticulture Courtney Weber in the past year. Other recent releases include Purple Wonder™, the darkest strawberry variety available, and the ‘Crimson Giant’ raspberry, suitable for high tunnel cropping systems with harvest into November. Photo: Robin Wishna
Berry Different: Growers turn to new Cornell raspberries for better flavor, disease-resistance and a colorful fall crop
By Kate Frazer
Two new raspberry varieties developed at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences —‘Double Gold’ and ‘Crimson Night’—were licensed this fall by two nurseries seeking flavorful, vigorous and disease-resistant raspberry varieties that can thrive in cold and unpredictable climates.
Designed for pick-your-own farms, farm stands and home gardeners by Associate Professor of Horticulture Courtney Weber at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), the berries have attracted interest from nurseries seeking varieties with intense flavor and a different look.
“I have been told by vendors at farmers markets that having several colors on display is a good way to draw in customers and distinguish yourself from other sellers,” said Weber. “I’m hoping these berries fit that niche.”
Mann Library garden certified by ‘green’ landscape system [Cornell Chronicle 9/25/2012] – The garden space flanking Mann Library’s front door is one of only 11 landscapes in the country to be certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), a new “green” certification system for landscapes. The 5,000-square-foot entrance garden was site-assessed, designed and built by students in the 2009-10 in Creating the Urban Eden, a yearlong course co-taught by Nina Bassuk, professor of horticulture, and Peter Trowbridge, professor of landscape architecture. Read more about the Mann landscape at the SITES website.
Growers view low-tunnel everbearing strawberry production system that extends the harvest season and protects against frost.
Berry open house features new options for growers [Cornell Chronicle 9/24/2012] – Despite a tough year for New York’s berry growers, more than 80 from attended the Small Fruit Open House at Cornell Orchards where they saw how the latest research can help them extend their harvest season, manage nutrients and try new crops.
At the field day, growers toured high tunnels — unheated greenhouses that extend the harvest and improve the quality of bramble crops, as well as make it possible to grow crops that don’t normally overwinter in New York, such as figs and blackberries. High tunnels can also protect crops from late freezes such as the one that occurred last spring. Growers also viewed a low-tunnel production system that similarly protects crops from frost and allows earlier harvest of ever-bearing strawberries in spring while extending the season well into fall. Growers were also introduced to new berry crop possibilities, including juneberries, currants, gooseberries and elderberries.
High tunnels extend the season and improve the quality of raspberry crops, and make it possible to grow crops such as figs and blackberries that don’t normally overwinter in New York.
Larry and Christine Smart with their winning pumpkin. Photo by Rob Way.
‘Smart’ pumpkin growing wins contest, boosts scholarships [Cornell Chronicle 9/24/2012] – Larry (horticulture) and Christine (plant pathology) Smart won the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s first pumpkin growing contest. Their winning entry tipped the scales at 52.6 pounds.