Good Fruit Grower

February 2013

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GOOD JOB Industry people in the news. For the full stories, go to www.good Rutgers fruit variety expert Jerry Frecon retires Jerry Frecon J erome "Jerry" Frecon, whose expertise in peaches is well known across the eastern United States and nationally, retired at the end of 2012. He is working for Adams County Nursery in Aspers, Pennsylvania, as a consultant on product development and advisor to commercial growers in the Northeast. Frecon joined the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension faculty in 1982, moving to New Jersey after spending nine years in Missouri seeking out and developing new fruit varieties and conducting nursery research for Stark Bro's Nurseries and Orchards Company. While Frecon never found a variety as famous as the Red and Golden Delicious apples that made Stark Bro's famous, he was involved in the development of a lot of good ones, like Gala apple, Redgold nectarine, and the donut peach Saturn, for Stark, and later, Encore, White Lady, Laurol, and Easterglo nectarines for the peach and nectarine growers in New Jersey and elsewhere. He hopes to keep his close association with Rutgers fruit breeder Joe Goffreda, while keeping his own reputation as an evaluator and developer of good fruit varieties from breeding programs across the country. Frecon was a professor at Rutgers, where agricultural agents have faculty status. He had a 100 percent extension appointment, which included teaching, research, and significant administrative duties as county department head. As an Agricultural Agent 1 located in Gloucester County, he worked with the fruit and nursery industry throughout southern New Jersey. "I think I've helped the growers and nurserymen," he said of his extension work. "I've gotten a lot of satisfaction from serving them." Frecon was born on a Boyertown, Pennsylvania, fruit farm in 1944. He still maintains an interest in the family farm managed by his brother and sister but is enjoying seeing it transitioned to a new enterprise called Frecon Farms, now operated by his nephews. Frecon graduated from Delaware Valley College, then gained a master's degree at Rutgers, and returned to DVC as assistant professor for seven years before going to Stark Bro's in 1973. One of his early accomplishments in New Jersey was helping growers learn to prune at a better time of the year, reducing tree death, canker infections, and loss of crop during the winter. "Pruning metabolically activates peach trees," he said. "Our research demonstrated the best time to prune was in March and April. This practice is less important these days because of warmer winters." Frecon has kept weather records for many years and says winters in New Jersey are no longer as cold. "We can now grow many peach, plum, and wine grape varieties we could never grow 20 years ago," he said. An article describing more of Frecon's work appeared in the June 2011 issue of Good Fruit Grower and can be found on the Web site. Fact sheets on some of the more than 1,000 peach varieties he has evaluated are on the Rutgers Web site, I 6 FEBRUARY 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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