Washington State Magazine

Washington State Magazine - Summer 2012

Summer 2012

Collectors edition

In This Issue...


Managing Nemo :: While collectors are hunting for tropical fish along the reefs of West Hawaii, marine scientist Brian Tissot is looking for ways to protect and replenish the colorful populations. We dive into his story, and the waters of Hawaii, as he checks in on the aquarium fishery. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: A Brush with Snorkel Bob }

The Collectors :: In 1988, hundreds of rare documents from colonial Mexico disappeared from the WSU Library archives. The author and readers go on a hunt through history to explain how they came to Pullman in the first place, and describe the investigation that led to their welcome return. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ Historically Yours :: WSU professor Paul Philemon Kies and his autograph collection. by Hannelore Sudermann }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Paul Philemon Kies Autograph Collection }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: The Regla Collection :: Documents and photos from the WSU Archives}

The Atomic Landscape :: Seven decades after the first nuclear production facilities were sited at Hanford, we discover the cultural legacy. We sample from poetry, history, and art, as well as a WSU student’s master’s thesis. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Historical Hanford }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: “Chain Reaction” by Zach Mazur }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: The Manis Mastodon Site: An Adventure In Prehistory }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: How to inseminate honey bee queens }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Pervious concrete for stormwater management }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipes: Recipes with raspberries }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Plume, by Kathleen Flenniken }


:: John E. Olerud ’65—Science is a lot like baseball

:: Dan Newhouse ’77—Farm to director’s office

:: Donald Wayne Bushaw, 1926-2012—A great teacher and a great learner

:: Alumni news: 10,000 More Members!

New Media

:: Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe by Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal PhD ’04

:: The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising by Travis N. Ridout and Michael M. Franz

:: Alaska: A History by Claus-M. Naske ’70 PhD and Herman E. Slotnick

:: Governing Washington: Politics and Government in the Evergreen State edited by Cornell W. Clayton and Nicholas P. Lovrich

:: Dog Days, Raven Nights illustrated by Evon Zerbetz ’82

Cover: Brian Tissot looks in on some raccoon butterflyfish off West Hawaii. Photo Eric Sorensen

In Season
<em>Cathleen Abers-Kimball</em>

Cathleen Abers-Kimball


by | © Washington State University

The cultivation of raspberries is, compared to that of other fruits, a relatively recent endeavor. Rubus idaeus, “the bramble bush of Ida,” purportedly grew on the slopes of Mount Ida and was enjoyed by the residents of the city of Troy. Ida, the nursemaid to the infant Zeus, pricked her finger while picking the originally snow-white berries, staining them red from that time forth. But it was not until the last four or five hundred years, writes D.L. Jennings in his Raspberries and Blackberries, that raspberries have been domesticated.

Today, nearly 60 percent of U.S. red raspberries are produced in Washington. Almost all of the state’s raspberries, which totaled 70 million pounds last year, are grown within a few miles of Lynden, in the northwest corner of the state, just south of the Canadian border.

And most of those approximately 9,500 acres of raspberries are one variety, the Meeker, which was released in 1967 by WSU’s first raspberry breeder, Chester Schwartze.

Schwartze started breeding raspberries at Washington State College’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center in 1932. Area raspberry growers had approached the station four years earlier requesting help in developing a variety that had better winter hardiness than the Cuthbert variety they were currently growing,

Meeker is obviously a fine variety, a real workhorse. It offers great fruit quality and yield, says current raspberry breeder Patrick Moore. Its only problem is it is susceptible to raspberry bushy dwarf virus. The virus, which is transmitted on pollen, causes partial sterility and degrades the berry. Raspberries are composed of small sections called drupelets. Instead of a normal hundred or so drupelets, says Moore, a berry afflicted by the virus will have far fewer, causing it to crumble when harvested.

This means the fruit cannot be sold as “individual quick frozen,” the highest grade of processed berries. 

This results in a huge financial hit, says Moore. To offset its effect, fields must be replanted every six years instead of a normal 10 to 12, an enormously expensive procedure.

It is no wonder then that a top priority in Moore’s breeding is virus resistance.

“Flavor, color, firmness, yield, machine harvestability, root rot tolerance, virus resistance,” says Moore, listing off the traits he seeks in a new variety, not necessarily in that order.

Ninety-nine percent of Washington’s raspberries are harvested by machine for processing, so the berries of a commercial variety must be firm enough to stay intact through harvest.

Plant breeding is a matter of compromise and tradeoffs. A breeder pursues as many of the desired traits as he or she can get, says Moore.

WSU has released 12 raspberry varieties over the years. Besides Moore and Schwartze, Bruce Barritt was the raspberry breeder from 1970 to 1980 and Tom Sjulin from 1981 to 1987. Moore has released six raspberry varieties since he started in 1987. He is also responsible for breeding strawberries and has released three varieties, out of a total of 13 developed by WSU breeders. 

Breeding a new variety is clearly a long process, generally taking around 14 years. It entails not only the reward of a successful new variety, but also a share of frustration.

When I ask Moore if he has a favorite for taste, his answer is immediate. 

“Cascade Dawn,” a variety that he released in 2005. 

Unfortunately, the berry does not come off the cane easily, making it hard to harvest. As a result, it is not being propagated.

Tulameen, from British Columbia, has good flavor, says Moore, but is pretty susceptible to root rot. 

“One of my technicians prefers Meeker,” he says.

The freshest berries, and thus tastiest, of course, come from one’s own patch. 

The first thing to look for in planning a raspberry patch is the raspberry variety, says Moore. Good choices for the backyard grower are Meeker, Cowichan, Chilliwack, and Willamette, all of which are adapted to a Northwest climate. Others include fall-bearing Summit, Prelude, Jaclyn, and Josephine and summer-bearing Cascade Delight.

Perhaps the ultimate in raspberry flavor comes in a bottle. Winemaker Nicolas Quillé makes an intense framboise dessert wine at Pacific Rim’s winery in the Tri-Cities from raspberries grown by Mike ’66 and Jeanne ’67 Youngquist in Mount Vernon.

Quillé uses a hybrid clone selected for its rich flavor and color. Grown on 13 acres of the Youngquist farm, the “Morrison” clone grows nowhere else. Quillé first ferments the raspberries just a bit, then soaks them in high-proof grape alcohol for 30 to 35 days. The final product is 16.5 percent alcohol and defines “raspberry.”

Categories: Food, Agriculture | Tags: Breeding, Horticulture, Raspberries

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