I don’t believe a position that is “anti-GMO” is a tenable one, because most insulin that is synthesised today is derived from a genetically modified organism, usually from E.Coli or yeast (S. cerevisiae). Being anti-GMO in principle would mean protesting medicine for diabetics.

I understand having objections to particular GM crops, say BT corn; I also understand having objections to the industry monopolies possessed by unscrupulous agribusiness firms like like Monsanto. Further, I think it is perfectly reasonable to have objections to unsustainable farming practices that deplete soil and eat up forests, or predatory business practices that take up tracts of indigenous land.

What I don’t understand is being against fruits and vegetables that have received the transgenic equivalent of a vaccination: like the Ringspot-resistant Papaya, or the Sharka-resistant Plum.

It’s the lack of clarity and specificity in this conversation that I find maddening: I think complex questions deserve complex answers, and those aren’t to be found in a consumer boycott, or a sign that reads “hell no GMO.” If you are protesting GM crops, but can’t tell me the names of five, then why are do you feel entitled to speak on behalf of people who work in agriculture and horticulture?


If you want to learn about the wide variety of crops available, check out the Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment’s Global GM Crop Database.


“The Patient Gardener” by Visiondivision

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb

Swedish architects Visiondivision and a group of students designed the two-storey study retreat, which is currently growing on the Politecnico di Milano campus. A circle of [cherry] trees will frame an hourglass-shaped hut for Milan that won’t be complete for 100 years.


#living sculptures #art #diy #prunus

Natural fermentation of plums in beeswax

By Nordic Food Lab

Is it possible that waxing fruits, a symbol of our large-scale food distribution system that values appearance and practicality over taste, could be used instead for deliciousness?

In fact, many fruits when ripe produce a natural wax coating on their surface to reduce the water permeability of the skin. Pick an apple from a tree, rub it on your shirt and it shines; the natural waxes on the apple’s surface are polished. In addition to the wax, the surface of these fruits often host different wild yeasts and other small ‘debris’. Large- scale producers, in order to get rid of these yeasts and other microorganisms which can decrease a fruit’s shelf life, wash their fruits then recoat them with approximately the same amount of edible wax.

But here at the Lab we love wild yeast and bacteria.

At the end of September the plum season was nearing an end in Denmark. We received a box of pristine plums one day from our plum lady in Sweden. The fruits were perfectly ripe – golden, blushed with red, and, we assumed, covered with natural wax and yeast.

Read more


Pluots, Apriums, Apriplums, and Plumcots

Plum (Prunus salicina or Prunus cerasifera) + Apricot (P. armeniaca)

These fruits are interspecific hybrids between plums and apricots, which occur naturally (plumcots/apriplums), but have also been bred (pluots/apriums). 

Occasionally a combination will produce fertile offspring, and the resulting tree is often further hybridised. Apriplums and Plumcots are generally first generation hybrids (F1), whereas Pluots and Apriums are complex hybrids (F2, or crossed again with a plum or apricot).

The names of the latter two complex hybrids–“Pluot” and “Aprium”–were trademarket by California’s prolific stone fruit (Prunus) breeder Chris “Floyd” Zaiger, of Zaiger’s Genetics. He also created the “Nectaplum” (nectarine x plum), and “Peacotum” (a complex hybrid of a peach x apricot x plum). The firm has recently developed “Plerries” and “Cherrums,” which are plum/cherry hybrids.

The genetic closeness of these trees, which allows them to hybridise with one another, is also the reason the can be grafted together, as can other Prunus  species like almonds and cherries.

Tree of 40 Fruit

Your can try and create hybrids like this in your yard, by planting different species of Prunus close together, grafting them to a single rootstock, or hand-pollinating them. After you eat the season’s fruit, makes sure to plant the pits in Autumn, and see what comes up next Spring!

Find Trees: Pluot, Aprium

Related: Breeding Avocados

#Prunus #fruit trees #hybrids #plant breeding #DIY

h/t to rebl-housewife-and-her-scientist for inspiring me to write about these.

Prunus virginiana “Chokecherry” Rosaceae

Drinking Horse Mountain, Bozeman, MT
June 3, 2015
Robert Niese

Chokecherry is a native species of cherry that is abundant on the drier, east-facing mountain slopes of the PNW. It was a staple food for many tribes in our area and is still regularly harvested by many native peoples. Each small fruit has a pit in the center (like a cherry) which can make its preparation difficult. Check out Abe Lloyd’s blog for details and recipes for things like Chokecherry fruit-leather, jam, and wine.