McIntyre: Lessons from the heart of the fruit industry

U of I Master GardenerSeptember 5, 2013 

Can you guess how many different cultivars of peaches and nectarines are grown in our great state of Idaho? There are more than 170 varieties! There are a multitude of fruits researched and cultivated just 35 miles west of Boise.

The University of Idaho Parma Research and Extension Center, in Parma Idaho, is known as the “heart of the fruit industry.” It also cultivates many more fruits, including 65-plus varieties of apples and an astonishing 180-plus types of table grapes, with some bunches weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs.

Every fall, for the past 13 years, the research center opens their orchards and vineyards to the pubic, hosting the Pomology Annual Fruit Field Day.

This year, the event is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 6. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the program begins promptly at 9 a.m.

Fruit Field Day is an opportunity for the public to meet Dr. Essie Fallahi, a national and international leader in horticulture, and learn about his extensive fruit research and production over more than 30 years.

Several new cultivars of peaches, nectarines, grapes, apples, plums, quince, Asian pears and other alternative fruits, such as pluots, jujubes, and persimmons, will be presented.

A multitude of tours, led by Dr. Fallahi and his team of researchers, weaves you through various fruit orchards, including the modern, super high-density apple orchard and the table grape vineyards where one can learn about their new grape canopy research.

All tours include discussion, along with question and answer sessions, about the various cultural practices of fruit crops, such as, planting, growth regulators, pruning and thinning, girdling, irrigation, and pest and disease control.

Another much-anticipated event at field day is the opportunity to sample all the different delectable varieties of fruits — you can take some home for free! Don’t forget to bring your own bag. See you in the Orchard!

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