Monday, November 1, 2010

How Great Fruits are Made

The AP's published a nice description of the stone fruit breeding operations of the eminent Floyd Zaiger of the California Central Valley. He's a great example of what hard working, creative and visionary plant breeders can accomplish over a long lifetime dedicated to their favorite plant - and he's impacted your life more than you know!

Breeding, in the circles I move in, is rapidly transforming into a world of abstract mathematical models. It's extremely effective, but as with many technological advances, it makes it that much more amazing and human to see through a window into a time when plants were improved by eye and hand.
"Chances are that 85-year-old Floyd Zaiger was behind them in some way, through his disease-resistant root stocks, groundbreaking hybrids or commercial varieties that arrive in East Coast grocery stores unblemished. 
"He eats, breathes and sleeps his trees, constantly thinking about their characteristics," his daughter Leith Gardner said. "For my dad, it's the love of his life, besides my mother."

You can read more about Floyd in The Fruit Hunters, by Adam Gollner (p 259).

h/t: Plant Breeding News (Oct 2010)

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