Skip to main content

Research

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:

Archer, newest Cornell strawberry, hits the sweet spot

Courtney Weber, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York. Photo: Rob Way/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Courtney Weber, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York. Photo: Rob Way/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell Chronicle [2016-09-12]:

Strawberry fans, rejoice. The newest Cornell strawberry variety concentrates intense flavor in a berry big enough to fill the palm of your hand.

Topping out at over 50 grams, Archer, the latest creation from Cornell berry breeder Courtney Weber, is comparable in size to a plum or small peach. But this behemoth stands out in ways beyond just its proportions: the flavor and aroma exceed what you’d expect from a strawberry of such unusual size.

“Archer is an extraordinarily high-flavored berry,” said Weber, associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. “It has an intense aroma, so when you bite into it you get a strong strawberry smell, and it’s very sweet, so you get a strong strawberry flavor that really makes an impact.”

Weber says the combination of large fruit and strong flavor hits the sweet spot for local growers who sell in farmers markets, u-pick sites and roadside stands. Archer ripens in June and holds its large size through multiple harvests for two to three weeks.

Read the whole article.

In September 12 Horticulture Section seminar, Weber explains the long road he had to take to bring ‘Archer’ to market:

View full seminar.

In the news

high-density-plantingx400In the field: Pomologists dig roots into cider apple research [CIDERCRAFT Magazine, Volume 6] – Scientists like Greg Peck,  Thomas Chao and Susan Brown are responding to the growing interest in cider with field trials and lab work that promise rewards for growers, cider producers and consumer. Peck is evaluating how cider apple varieties perform in high-density plantings. Chao curates the largest and most diverse apple collection in the world at the USDA Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, N.Y. And Brown is crossing cider apple varieties with other Malus species to try to improve performance while maintaining the fruit qualities cidermakers value.

USDA grant could boost eastern broccoli production [The Packer 2016-08-24] –  “The project will provide better varieties so growers can extend their season and reduce their risk. To get the market going, having a year-round supply with the quality the retailers expect, will make it a lot easier for everyone on the supply end,” says Thomas Björkman, associate professor, Horticulture Section, who leads the effort.

Early-onset spring models may indicate ‘nightmare’ for ag [Cornell Chronicle 2016-08-24] – Warm springs in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions – which create havoc for agriculture – may start earlier by mid-century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, according to a new study published in Climate Dynamics. “The spring of 2012, with its summerlike warmth, brought plants out of dormancy and then had a lengthy freeze. This was a nightmare scenario for many growers, and it showed us a snapshot of what global warming might look like in this region,” said Toby Ault, assistant professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, an author on the study.

Rebranding of Cornell Plantations to better reflect mission, vision [Cornell Chronicle 2016-08-25] – In early September, Dean Kathryn Boor will present to the Buildings and Properties Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees that “Cornell Plantations” be changed to “Cornell Botanic Gardens,” a fitting moniker that succinctly captures the organization’s mission and aspirations.

Plant Breeders Carry the Weight of the World on Their Shoulders [2016-08-30] – SeedWorld interviews Michael Gore, associate professor, Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, on making rubber from a nearly wild desert shrub, hidden hunger, climate change and the importance of new breeding techniques.

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.

 

 

Petrovic awarded Good Medal by NYSNLA

Petrovic

Petrovic

Horticulture professor emeritus Marty Petrovic was awarded the 2016 George L. Good Gold Medal of Horticulture by the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association (NYSNLA) at the New York State Fair August 25.

The award is NYSNLA’s highest honor, recognizing an individual who has made outstanding contributions to horticulture in the state of New York.

Petrovic, a turf specialist who retired in 2015, is best known for his groundbreaking work on the fate and impacts of pesticides and fertilizers applied to lawns and other turf areas. The Gold Medal Award was renamed to honor George Good after his death in 2008. Good spent his entire career at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and was an active, engaged member of NYSNLA and received the Gold Medal of Horticulture himself in 1997.

Congratulations Marty!

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.

 

100 attend Floriculture Field Day

More than 100 greenhouse growers and retailers, florists, educators and others from around New York and the Northeast attended the annual Cornell Floriculture Field Day August 9.

The morning program at Stocking Hall featured presentations including (click links for video):

Attendees also applauded entomology professor John Sanderson who was awarded an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). In his 25 years at Cornell, Sanderson has enthusiastically helped greenhouse growers identify pest problems, reduce pesticide use and increase profits.

The afternoon program at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility featured tours of annual flower trials, mixed container plantings of vegetables, herbs and flowers, pollinator-friendly plants, alternatives to invasive plants and more. Attendees also applauded winners of the 13th annual Kathy Pufahl Container Competition, which since 2003 has raised more than $10,000 for IBD research at Mt. Sinai Hospital. View 2016 winners.

bed0736x640Attendees view annual flower trials.

pollinator-plants0723x640Betsy Lamb (with clipboard), New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, leads pollinator-friendly plant walkabout.

pollinator-plants0703x640Lamb (right) and attendees observe pollinators swarming on Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root).

pollinator-bed0745x640Sue and Mark Adams, of Mark Adams Greenhouses, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who sponsored this pollinator plant bed, pose with research technician Kendra Hutchins, who manages the annual flower trials.

pollinator0674x640Bee visiting blooms in the pollinator bed.

containers0685x640Cheni Filios (MS ’14), Vegetable Product Line Manager, PanAmerican Seed Company at Ball Horticultural, explains strategies for mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers in containers.

Donald Horowitz ’77 (Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture), Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouses, East Hampton, N.Y. took first place in the new Edibles Division in the 2015 Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Design Competition.Donald Horowitz ’77 (Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture), Wittendale’s Florist & Greenhouses, East Hampton, N.Y. took first place in the Edibles Division in the 2016 Kathy Pufahl Memorial Container Design Competition. He fashioned the planter from a container used to ship pots to his business. View other winners.

bed0639x640Getting a closer look at the annual trials.

Skip to toolbar