WILLSBORO, N.Y. — The Juneberries are in blossom in the research nursery at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY. Juneberry, scientifically known as Amelanchier, is an antioxidant superfruit, with the potential to be a major fruit crop for growers in the Northeast.
The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provided funding in 2013 to begin establishing the first Juneberry research nursery in NY state.
Project leaders Michael B. Burgess, a botanist with the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and Michael H. Davis, manager of the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm, wild-collected cultivars from multiple states in 2013-2014. The cuttings were established in the greenhouse-laboratory at SUNY Plattsburgh and transplanted to the research farm. The nursery also includes commercial varieties of the fruit known as Saskatoon berry in Canada.
The research being conducted at the Willsboro farm is developing knowledge and best practices to help regional growers successfully establish a Juneberry crop, and understand optimal flowering season, fruit set, pest and disease susceptibility, and individual cultivar hardiness under Northern New York growing conditions.
The research crew at the farm has also done some unofficial taste testing and reports that some of the cultivars have incredible flavor.
This Juneberry research is part of a larger Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded project that is evaluating new fruit crops for commercial production by NNY growers. More information is posted in the Horticulture section of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website atwww.nnyagdev.org.
In 2017, in addition to a portion of the living Juneberry collection at the Willsboro farm moving to a new field location adjacent to the variety evaluation trials, Juneberry plantings were established with 44 plants on a farm in Essex County, 20 plants on a farm in Jefferson County. In 2018, one farm each in Franklin County and St. Lawrence County will add plants for grower evaluation.
Funding for the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
–Northern New York Agricultural Development Program
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