OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Corvallis Science Pub to explore the art of vegetable breeding

06/07/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Jim Myers, an Oregon State University expert in vegetable breeding, will explore the stories behind some of the vegetable varieties that show up at farm markets and on dinner tables on June 13 at the Corvallis Science Pub.

The program begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 Second St., in downtown Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.

The colors of summer produce can be dazzling: brilliant red radishes, strawberries and tomatoes; deep green leaf lettuce, spinach, string beans and cucumbers; orange carrots and squash; bright yellow sweet corn, peppers and beans. In addition to traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and cold hardiness, plant breeders select for these marketable traits that are attractive to consumers.

Myers, a professor in the OSU Department of Horticulture, breeds many vegetables, including string beans, snap peas, broccoli, winter squash, tomatoes and sweet corn. One of his latest products is a purple tomato with elevated levels of antioxidants.

Myers will trace the story of New World vegetables through an unusual perspective - their appearance in European art in the 16th and 17th centuries. And he’ll describe some of the new varieties that are being developed for Northwest gardeners by plant breeders at OSU. Myers is co-editor of an upcoming book on plant breeding practices for organic agriculture.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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