Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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Page 14 of 55 GOOD FRUIT GROWER MAY 15, 2015 15 working through the details with them," he said. He did not comment on specific concerns raised about the program. Rainier WSU's cherry breeding program began in 1949. The popular blush Rainier variety, which came from a cross of Bing and Van made in 1952 by breeder Dr. Harold Fogle, was the university's first cherry release. Fogle also developed the Chinook cherry. Every variety the university has released since then came from crosses made by Dr. Tom Toyama, breeder at WSU from 1963 to 1985. After Toyama retired, the breeding effort languished for a couple of decades until Jim Olmstead, then a grad- uate student, became interested in mildew-resistant material that Toyama had left and used it in crosses with Bing, Van, and Rainier. In 2004, Dr. Matt Whiting, cherry horticulturist with WSU in Prosser, and Dr. Amy Iezzoni, cherry breeder at Michigan State University, did a pilot project to look at the feasibility of resurrecting the cherry breeding program at Prosser. The following year, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commision provided three years of funding to relaunch the program. They have been funding it ever since. urgently COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE FRUIT COMMISSION The popular Rainier cherry was Washington State 8QLYHUVLW\³V¼UVWFKHUU\UHOHDVHLQ*URZHUV would like to see more winning varieties come RXWRIWKH:68EUHHGLQJSURJUDP

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