[NAFEX] Fwd: [rarefruit] Discussion aims of the group

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Apr 16 00:02:31 EDT 2007

Keep in mind that NAFEX has been around since the 1960's, when things 
like kiwi (any kiwi), jujubes, persimmons, etc. were pretty much 
unknown in the general population and were considered quite exotic at 
the time.  NAFEX has done a lot to make formerly exotic fruits common 
enough that they have lost much of their former status. Elwyn Meader 
bred an American persimmon able to grow in a climate where most people 
thought they wouldn't grow.  Jim Claypool started the first private 
large scale breeding program for American persimmons.   Elmer Swenson 
showed that really good quality grapes could be grown in cold climates. 
Elwood Fisher gathered an apple collection that became a large part of 
the foundation of the U.S. apple collection at Geneva, NY.   The list 
goes on.  Through the efforts of many of these people, nurseries began 
to offer those "exotic" fruits more and more until they became well 
known enough to lose some of their "exotic" status.
	In some ways NAFEX's role has shifted to finding and/or developing new 
fruits, to developing/finding more varieties of those fruits that will 
grow in a wider range of climates.
	Yes, there are many exotic fruits out there, but only a limited number 
that will grow in temperate climates AND have enough appeal to attract 
a sizeable following the way the earlier fruits have.  There are a lot 
of edible Sorbus species, for example, but many aren't better than 
other pome fruits, just different.  That doesn't mean they aren't worth 
pursuing, only that they aren't likely to attract as much attention as 
other fruits.
	Of course it also depends on how much work anyone is willing to put 
into the fruits.  The Interest Groups have tended to wither with the 
development of the internet because the existing information tends to 
stifle creativity to some degree.  When someone is working in 
isolation, they seem to become more creative and try more things 
because they have nothing to compare their work to.  With the internet, 
it's easy to find others who are already doing something, which can 
make working with a fruit less urgent.
	Of the many other fruits out there, a lot of them have potential, but 
they don't appeal to as wide a range of people as some of the ones 
NAFEX has espoused in the past, so it will take more time for them to 
be developed to where they will attract a wider "audience".
	These are random thoughts.  Often it only takes one really devoted 
"fan" of a fruit to light a fire under others, if that one is 
persistent, patient, and gets the word out to others.  That usually 
means growing or working with as many selections of the fruit as 
possible, gathering information, sometimes breeding new varieties, 
passing along plant material, and writing about their experiences.
	As long as NAFEX has people like that, it will flourish.
-Lon Rombough

Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For growing supplies and more;  http://www.grapegrowersolutions.com

On Apr 15, 2007, at 6:06 PM, rob hamilton wrote:

Dear membership,

This is an interest comment. I have only been with NAFEX for about 6 
years. Some some aspects or this post I agree and with and some I 
don't. I feel this is an excellent opportunity for our membership (at 
least the on-line ones) to chime in to let the board know what you 

These are my thoughts...

There is a alot of discussions on mainstream fruits in the on-line 
forum and in Pomona, though the varieties discussed are often are 
historical or rare and sometimes unorthodox uses of those fruits. That 
being said, I do see plenty of discussion of rare or under explored 
fruits, and kiwi or hardy kiwi is hardly and exotic fruit on our list. 
Ask Hector Black and Hall Love.  I personally would love to see more 
exploration of rarer fruit. I think (gut feeling here) members do, but 
may not actively report on them.
I also think that we do have a diversity of people on the whole 
chemical/organic spectrum. I am tired of seeing people place in just 
two extremes in this issue, and I do feel here people discuss and 
practice various methodologies and anyone would find a colleague in our 
membership that would see their interest represented. I do see the 
organic community growing, and that is an area I think we could find 
more members.

I do NOT want this post to sound like I took offense at these comments. 
It is further from the truth. I thank Dr. Parmar posted this. My hope 
is that we can use it as a vehicle to ask ourselves if this is the 
group we want.

I think each fruit group out there has there own "flavor" of community. 
I am part  of Southern Fruit Fellowship, and the California Rare fruit 
group. There will always be overlap between them, though no group well 
satisfy everyone, I think we are a good general entry point for all 
people interested in temperate fruit.

Robert Hamilton
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