Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fred Brooks and Blueberry

There was a book I borrowed from our local library years ago and that I
can probably find out the title and author. This book was totally about
blueberries and was written by a woman who had bought a property in
Whitefield, NH which had a commercial lowbush business. In her book she
covered the history of the first several selected and named highbush
varieties and their origins (all the Greenfield, NH area). For anyone
wanting more info on the history of cultivated blueberries this book is
pretty original and should be available in libraries. I'm pretty sure the
title is 'Blueberries.' ...................Vic in NH.

"J. Rosano II" wrote:

> Excerpted from the NH Weekly Market Bulletin...
> Date: Wednesday, August 16th.
> Story: All Cultivated Blueberries Trace Back to Greenfield, NH
> Every pint of cultivated blueberries harvested in the world contains a
> little bit of New Hampshire....
> As the blueberry harvest for 2000 progresses, it's worth taking a look
> at the history of the domestication of the species, and there's nobody
> better to go to than Roger Swain, nationally acclaimed writer on the
> horticultural subjects and host of the popular PBS gardening series,
> Crockett's Victory Garden.
> Today's highbush blueberries trace their origins to an old farm in the
> NH town of Greenfield that was purchased in 1905 by a USDA botanist
> named Frederick Vernon Coville to be a summer vacation retreat.
> Coville discovered the overgrown pastures on the farm were full of both
> highbush and lowbush blueberries which yielded plentiful fruit for his
> family to harvest. Swain writes.
> "Nobody contemplated growing them commercially until Coville began his
> famous experiments, discovering in short order that blueberries needed
> a highly acid soil to grow well. If you plant them in ordinary garden
> soil, they will yellow and die.
> "In the summer of 1908 he selected a wild highbush plant whose fruits
> had a superior size and flavor, which he named "Brooks" after
> Fred Brooks, a neighbor on whose land the bush was growing, and a
> lowbush he named "Russell" from Frank Russell's place on the other side
> of the road.
> "Back in Washington he crossed these two berries. They were in essence
> the Adam & Eve of the cultivated blueberry," Swain continues.
> "The first hybrid blueberry was named 'Pioneer.' It was introduced
> along with two others by the USDA in 1920, and the rest, as they say,
> is history."
> Today there are more than 150 varieties of commercially grown blue-
> berries. In the US more than 50,000 acres are in blueberry plantations,
> and the fruit is now grown around the world. Coville's experiments have
> generated value estimated at more than a billion dollars.
> And those blueberry genetics all trace back to a little hill farm in
> New Hampshire.
> Thanks to the, NH Weekly Market Bulletin.
> Steven H. Taylor Commissioner
> NH Dept. of Agriculture-Markets & Food.
> Funny most folks thought we only grew apples in NH.... : ]
> Best wishes,
> John


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