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Bob Larson Phytelligence Propagates Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: April 12, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Micro-propagation and mass production of rootstocks. It’s a growing trend that nobody is taking more seriously than Seattle-based Phytelligence.

CEO Ken Hunt says Phytelligence was founded in 2012 by WSU ag professor Amat Dhingra who turned to tissue culture technology to see if it would work for Washington apple growers …

HUNT … “The best way to think about it is tissue culture, generally, is instead of starting out your plant in soil where you’re combatting soil-based pathogens, etcetera, early in your life, think of us as maybe ‘head-start” for your plants if you will.”

But, Hunt says that’s not all Phytelligence does …

HUNT … “We do more than just tissue culture to deliver these really high-quality plants. It’s things in tissue culture, it’s in our unique customized tissue culture, but there’s also thing we do in the greenhouse as well that lead to delivering really high-quality plants.”

Hunt says the plants they deliver give growers everything they could ask for …

HUNT … “… taller, stronger root system, thicker caliper. We genetically test everything to confirm that 100% of what a grower orders is what they’re going to get. We test for virus and disease so when they leave our greenhouses they’re getting clean plants.”

Given the demand, Hunt says this is a great way to meet

grower needs …

HUNT … “The best way to produce bud-wood varieties for grafting and rootstock is really through optimized tissue culture process. So, that’s really our reason for being and why we exist.”

Hunt expects use of the technology to increase as the world population grows along with the need for more plants faster that produce more food faster.

BL: Welcome back to “Fruit Bites” brought to you by Valent U.S.A. Joining me again is Valent’s Allison Walston and this week, we’re talking popular apple varieties. So, Allison, what new varieties are gaining traction or might be on the horizon?

AW: Have you heard about the Cosmic Crisp apple?

BL: Well yes I have, but please, tell us more!

AW: Washington State University started developing the Cosmic Crisp apple back in 1998! It is a cross between an Enterprise and a Honeycrisp. The Cosmic Crisp website says “The "Cosmic" … name was developed because of the “striking” lenticels on the apple surface… [that] look like starbursts ... “Crisp” … links to its parent, 'Honeycrisp'.” It’s expected that nearly 5 million trees will be planted in 2018 ALONE putting estimates at 11 million trees in 3 years in Washington. The consumer expectation for taste is supposed to be “other worldly”. Such excitement for an apple! Large, juicy, exceptional flavor and slowness to brown after cutting. The apples should be available for purchase in 2019.

BL: Thanks Allison. Join us for another Fruit Bites every Tuesday and Thursday. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.

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