CORVALLIS, Ore. - The public is invited to tour an agricultural gene bank and research farm on the outskirts of Corvallis on July 18.

The annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oregon State University's Lewis-Brown Horticulture Research Farm and the adjacent U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Clonal Germplasm Repository, which is at 33447 S.E. Peoria Rd.  

The repository preserves thousands of varieties of crops, including hazelnuts, strawberries, hops, mint, pears and blackberries, so they'll be available for research and whatever needs might arise in the future.

Visitors will be able to sample many of the 600 different blueberry cultivars at the site; tour cherry research plots; learn about new fruit and vegetable varieties soon to be released; and see irrigation research that helps reduce water use while increasing yields of blueberries and other fruits. Attendees can tour the property in vans or walk along a marked route.

The event coincides with Corvallis' da Vinci Days, so a shuttle bus will transport visitors from campus to the farm between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Board the shuttle at S.W. 14th Street and S.W. Jefferson Way across from OSU's Education Hall.

To reach the facilities on your own from Corvallis, take state Route 34 east about one mile, then turn right on Peoria Road for another mile and look for an open house sign.

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Joseph Postman, 541-738-4200