[NAFEX] Nafex highlights

Doreen Howard gardendiva at charter.net
Fri Aug 20 16:19:00 EDT 2004

Mark Wessels asked:
> Doreen and anyone else who attended the conference,
>    Can you share any of the highlights. Were there new fruit or nut
> varieties that really thrilled you. Toss us a scrap would you.

I am tossing only scraps, as I only attended the Sunday mixer and the
sessions on Monday.  I had a photo shoot and interview to do elsewhere in MO
on my way home.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Jules Janick, did a terrific Power Point
presentation on a 16th century Italian artist's, Caravaggio, paintings that
featured fruits.  Janick called the art dissection a mirror on Baroque
pomology.  I'm an art buff, so I especially liked Janick's program.  The
interesting thing was that when you look closely at various fruits in the
paintings, you see diseases and insect damage like we have now.  People of
that time valued fruit as a sign of wealth and fertility and painted it with
all the warts, including insect-eaten leaves, apple scab, etc.

Dr. Chiranjit Parmar showed slides of various fruits, herbs and other
edibles from the area of the Himalayas in which he lives.  Most plants are
not known to Westerners, but Parmar says they can be developed in the US.
It was difficult to understand his narrative, so I didn't get much out of
the explanations.  One thing stuck out, though.  All these plants are wild
and for the taking.  He said that anyone can harvest them, and they do.
Then they sell them in his town market or sell them to vendors.  There is no
such thing as ownership of these vast plantings.

Richard Moyer did an outstanding job of promoting minor fruits for the
mid-U.S.  I'll let him detail his presentations.

A program I especially enjoyed was Joseph Postman's Natural Intergeneric
Pome Fruit Hybrids.  He passed out some materials on the breeding, but there
were not enough copies.  If anyone has copies, I'd appreciate a copy of your
copies and will gladly pay for mailing costs.  Please contact me offlist.

Specifically, Postman talked about the pyrus X sorbus and cydonia hybrids.
He brought a cooler full of pyrus X sorbus fruits for us to taste.  They
were delicious, and I see market potential.  They are NOT Shipova, which is
already available.  These fruits were the size of a very small pear and
shaped similarly with a faint blush over green.  The texture was firm and
crunchy.  Flavor was sugary, but with a range of undertones.  If anyone
knows the name of this cultivar, please tell us.

I didn't attend the Tuesday field trips, but wish I would have had the time.
Everyone visited the U. of MO Agroforestry Research Station.  Two projects
there sounded very interesting, and I will pursue them later.  U of MO is
developing a truffle industry for Missouri nut growers--an added market
product for inter-cropping.  And, they are also developing commercial morel

These are my scraps.  How about other attendees reporting, too?
Doreen Howard
gardendiva at charter.net

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