Sunday, May 4, 2014

The hazards of an industry built on "the best" clones-

Good lucid article today in the NYT on all the reasons the Florida grapefruit crop used to be around 40 million boxes; and this year will be around 19.

Besides hurricanes and bad health press, there is citrus canker and now citrus greening, invading pests.

Cost of production has tripled.

You are very unlikely to hear this point anywhere else- but a major part of this disaster is the near total lack of genetic diversity in the crop.

It's known- it's not a guess- that diseases spread in genetically uniform plantings far, far faster than in diverse ones. And with enough genetic diversity, you have real hope of finding some resistance - or an antagonistic organism that eats the disease.  They like diversity too.

All of which is why we recommend planting seedling hazels etc.

The dogma that "consumers won't buy them" is uninformed bull.  The consumers will believe what you tell them; most times.  Tell them "this one is the best, those are lousy" - and the believe it.

Tell them "These are all different- which makes eating them much more interesting." - they'll believe that just as fast.  We've done it.