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The research station in W--

On this day in Pen Pal, nothing particular happened, but in the note that Kaya wrote her mother on July 4, she mentioned the research station in W--, where she used to work. At the research station, they test and develop new strains of cash and subsistence crops, as well as work on plants for soil replenishment, etc.

In Timor-Leste, Seeds of Life does this work. Here are two crops that were developed in Baucau, Timor-Leste, and that are among 11 being tested with local farmers:

"Deep purple" sweet potato; photo by Alexia Skok

Red rice; photo by Alexia Skok

“[These] varieties are locally sourced and already popular among farming families for their taste and colour,” says Research Coordinator Luis Almeida.

Photos and quote from Kate Bevitt, "Music to the Tastebuds: Deep Purple Sweet Potato and Other Varieties Coming Soon" June 26, 2014.

Near me, similar work goes on at Cold Spring Orchard, which is a test orchard for the University of Massachusetts. Sometimes when you go there in the fall, you can taste-test new varieties of peaches or apples--sometimes they don't even have names yet, just numbers.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC)
I never thought of test orchards. Duh! How fascinating!
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
Cornell is *very* big on this sort of research. I wrote to Cornell to get Kazakh apple seeds after reading Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire. I even had a little tree for a while (125 seeds--only one seedling survived… I am not the best farmer), until some animal ate it -_-
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)

I am trying to get lemon seedlings as my little lemon bush makes really, really good lemons. It's not easy!
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
Oh I would *love* to grow a lemon tree! Can you bring me a seed or two? I will try very hrd to keep them alive.
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
If these take, you bet I will!

I have one lemon left on this bunch (the next batch won't ripen until Christmas) and I will try to make sure the others don't get to it first.
Jul. 6th, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
That's fascinating. Now I want to check and see if the university where my son works and that my daughter attends has any test crops. I know they specialize in growing organically, so I don't know.
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
I bet they do have test crops--or at the very least, they're surely testing their various organic regimes to find out what works best.
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:06 pm (UTC)
Purdue had a test orchard of peaches when I was growing up. They were the freshest and most delicious peaches I've ever tasted, bar none. So juicy!
Jul. 6th, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC)
I am so grateful to the agronomists and farmers who made it possible to grow peaches in cold climates like Massachusetts. They are one of my favorite fruits. I would love to taste a Purdue peach!
Jul. 6th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
Sometimes they don't even get (new) names. Around here, one of the most popular varieties of mango is the R2E2 ("Row 2 Experiment 2"). Although of course that turned out to be a brilliant name in the name, because it was just close enough to R2D2 that everyone would remember it...
Jul. 6th, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
Before finishing your sentence I was already thinking, "R2D2--brilliant!" :-)

Little did the researchers know how lucky they were to get that row and experiment slot.
Jul. 6th, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
Sometimes when you go there in the fall, you can taste-test new varieties of peaches or apples--sometimes they don't even have names yet, just numbers.

That is extremely cool.
Jul. 6th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Come out in the fall (she says blithely to the couple without a car), and we will have an apple-tasting afternoon.
Jul. 6th, 2014 09:19 pm (UTC)
Red Rice is AWESOME. I cook it and take it to Pot-luck dinners all the time.
The research for better/more wholesome food is a never ending and important area.
Jul. 8th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
I haven't had it! I want to try some.
Jul. 8th, 2014 06:14 pm (UTC)
I now have a giant hankering for fantastical looking sweet potatoes.
Jul. 8th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
They are pretty spectacular, aren't they!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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