CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University's Department of Horticulture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service will host a public tour of berry and pear collections and fruit and vegetable research on Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Attendees will have a chance to explore and sample hundreds of fruit varieties and learn about sustainable and organic food production research. The USDA's Germplasm Repository has most of the 1,800 known pear varieties in the world and 400 types of blueberries growing in their field plots. Blueberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and early pears will be offered for tasting.

"This will be an opportunity for 'foodies' to really discover new fruits and vegetables - and this work is being done right in their backyard," said Barb Fick, horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service. "Those attending will be able to ask questions of experts describing their work."

The half-day event, "Fruits and Vegetables for Your Table: Taste and Tour," will feature OSU and USDA-ARS horticultural research with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. It will occur at OSU's Lewis-Brown Horticulture Research Farm and USDA-ARS Clonal Germplasm Repository at 33447 S.E. Peoria Rd., near Corvallis.

"The purpose of the tour is to get both the general public and growers more familiar with the resources at both the USDA-ARS Repository and in OSU's Department of Horticulture, especially with the increasing interest in locally produced fruits and vegetables," saidb Fick.

Researchers from the USDA and OSU are constantly working on breeding new varieties with better taste, appearance and disease-resistance. There will be fruits and vegetables on the tour that are not commercially available yet, but will be available to growers soon.

A small bus will transport people around the facilities and plenty of parking is available on site.

Featured speakers and topics during the four-hour program will include:

  • Kim Hummer, USDA-ARS: the national blueberry collection; 
  • Anita Azarenko, OSU Department of Horticulture: organic cherries and cherry crops in Oregon;
  • Mary Peterson, USDA-ARS: the best in new raspberries and blackberries;
  • David Bryla, USDA-ARS: how to get the most out of your blueberries through irrigation and fertilization;
  • Joseph Postman, USDA-ARS: pears of the world;
  • Jim Myers, OSU Department of Horticulture: the next generation of Oregon's vegetables, organic vegetables and novel squash.

Benton and Linn County OSU Extension Master Gardeners will be assisting with the program.

For more information, contact the OSU Department of Horticulture, 541-737-3695 or the USDA-ARS National Germplasm Repository, 541-738-4200.

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Barb Fick,