Cornell researchers explore juneberry's potential

09/13/2013 06:30:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

juneberriesCourtesy Cornell UniversityJuneberries, which loosely resemble blueberries, may be the next superfruit.

Cornell University is planting a juneberry nursery at its Willsboro Research Farm to determine whether the fruit, also known as Saskatoon berries, will do well in the Northeastern climate.

The project is being funded by the farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, according to a news release.

Participants in the multi-state project also are collecting wild cuttings and seeds to develop a genetic database and develop lines suitable for Northeastern production.

They specifically are looking at cultivars that have exceptional fruiting potential.

The plants flower in March through May and produce fruit in June and July.

With that sort of timing, the crop could generate revenues early in the growing season for producers, according to the release.

The project leaders will be consulting with Jim Ochterski, executive director of Cornell Cooperation Extension of Ontario County.

He has led the establishment of juneberry plantings on more than 20 farms in the Finger Lakes and Central New York since 2010 and has conducted consumer tastings to build market interest.

The first commercial-scale crop from the Willsboro nursery is expected in 2015-16.

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