Good Fruit Grower

January 2014

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IN THE BOX Want to share your opinion? Write us at 105 S. 18th St., #217 Yakima, WA 98901 or e-mail growing@ GMO apples Dear Good Fruit Grower: I feel like I have been placed on a train track and there is a locomotive bearing down on me and I have about ten seconds to either get out of the way or be run over. I am an apple grower from Washington State, the largest apple-growing state, and I have just been informed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is actually seriously considering bringing a genetically modified apple into this country. I am a member of the Washington State Horticultural Association, Washington State Farm Bureau, U.S. Apple Association, and I am just now hearing about this issue, which could devastate our livelihood as apple growers. The public comment period was due to end December 16., but why can't it be extended to March 1? We obviously need more time to get the word out as to what is being considered, and give growers a chance to comment on it. A big problem with the way the USDA is considering allowing a GMO apple into this country is that they are making a decision based on the very narrow issue of plant pest risk. They are not even going to consider the problems of cross pollination. Also, many people don't want to eat GMO-contaminated food. The apple has always been considered a healthy food. Allowing GMO apples into the United States is going to severely hurt the apple's image, and lower its value in the marketplace. How does one go back and remove GMO contamination once it is in the food chain? The Canadian growers in British Columbia, where these two apples come from, would not allow them to be released up there, so now they are trying to get them into the United States. Does anyone remember what Alar did to the apple market? If there is still chance to comment—and I suggest that it is imperative that you do—go to the following Web link:!submitComment;D=APHIS-2012-0025-1938. Dan Dufault Plymouth, Washington Bloom thinning Dear Good Fruit Grower: I have received Good Fruit Grower magazine for a long time. I just finished reading the article "Bloom thinning boosts fruit size" by Bas van den Ende (in the December issue). I have been a peach and nectarine grower for over 30 years. I have learned that blossom thinning is very expensive, and it does not guarantee that you left the good fruit versus the double. It does not make the fruit any bigger, and you will have to come back later and thin off the cull fruit. That just adds more money to the cost of farming. My experience is that shortening laterals does shorten thinning time, but it makes for smaller fruit because you have cut the end and that stops the flow of the juices. These statements are just my own, based on what I have proved to myself. Keep your ground in the best nutrient condition you can, and, depending on the weather, you will be one of the better Good Fruit Growers. Kevin Goossen Central California grower GOOD FRUIT GROWER JANUARY 1, 2014 9

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