At the beginning of this year, I continued work with a cellulose nanocrystal particle to verify its ability to frost-protect peach. It was successful but has yet to be commercially available. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at peach farms devastated by freezing temperatures and writing insurance letters to help support them. I helped start the SCSFGA- South Carolina Small Fruit Growers Association with many farms statewide. This group has formally asked Clemson administrators for Ph.D. assistance with growing small fruits. At this point, asking for funding will go to the state legislature this coming year. This project is excellent for Clemson to participate in, and I look forward to seeing that position develop.
I am currently harvesting many grape varieties I have planted and maintained. This demonstration aims to expose this farm to newer varieties, which will assist him. We have some wonderful hybrid grape varieties that are smaller than his muscadine. Still, these are seedless and have very high sugar content and thinner skin. One selection of muscadine is Paulk. It will serve as a better pollinator for Supreme, a female muscadine. We have in the past used Granny Val, which is a bronze grape that comes in very late. I want the grower to see the timing of Paulk and how it compares to Supreme. He is looking to involve it in his next planting of Supreme. Lastly, I worked with one farm on a different form of fumigation that is much safer than the traditional method. We will distribute the collected information to all growers at our production meetings and demonstrate it to the NC Strawberry Growers Association in person. I tested the injection method with a donated product and pulled nematode samples from treated and control areas for comparison.
My work with the cellulose nanocrystal particle and grape and muscadine varieties were out-of-the-ordinary projects I worked on this year. I also held production meetings and problem-solved at on-farm visits, as always. I am honored to serve the farmers, growers, and producers of the Upstate.
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