Desmond R. Layne
If you are a regular reader of my column, you may already be aware of the on-line peach resources that I have at my “Everything About Peaches” website. However, there are new materials and new educational outreach tools that I hope you will utilize for your benefit and for that of your customers. Much of the new content was created last summer/fall and in the busyness of your business, you may not have had time to check it out or you may not have known it existed. My hope is that these resources and new ones we’re posting nearly daily will be useful for you in 2012 and beyond. I want to encourage you to be a lifelong student. What opportunities have you not pursued because of complacency, ignorance or fear? Think about the possibilities outside the box of your conventional practice. Learn from others. Read, watch, think, create ideas, talk with peers, flesh your thoughts out, make informed decisions, experiment a little, take modest informed risk and see what happens!
Currently, we have 33 YouTube videos that have already had more than 24,000 views from around the world. Do you want customers to know how to pick the right peach? Point them to our video. Do you want to understand how stress impacts your orchard? Watch. Would you like to see what 18 different “top performers” look like throughout the entire ripening season? We have it. How about the latest technology for growing peaches indoors in China to tap into an early market? Could we do that here? Take a look and see. Think about it.
Each column that I have written for the American Fruit Grower since January 2005 (total of 38 including this one) is available on my website. Most topics are not outdated and are still relevant today (i.e., cold injury, light management, fertility management, weed management, crop load management, maturity determination, factors effecting quality, marketing, crop diversification, etc.). Some may be worth reading again and again and printing to share with your staff as a homework assignment.
Peaches are news worthy. Nearly every day – somewhere in the world – peaches are in the news. You may be surprised to know that growers in Italy, New Zealand, South Africa or Chile suffer from many of the same problems that you do! Besides notifying you of timely news by tweets on Twitter or posts on FaceBook (both noted below), any stories that I am interviewed for or quoted in are also posted in a “News and Updates” section on the front page of the website. This includes stories of national interest that you may want to share with customers to educate them and even entertain them (i.e., CBS’s “The Early Show”, NPR’s “All Things Considered”, etc.).
There are now 35 “Frequently Asked Questions” with answers on diverse topics. Some FAQ’s have simple, brief answers. Others are detailed with extensive photographs (i.e., symptoms of mineral nutrient deficiency). What questions do you have that I should add with appropriate answers?
Our “Clemson Peach Variety Evaluations” section of the website has comprehensive performance data of more than 350 cultivars and selections. This database is searchable and includes most fresh market cultivars currently used in North America plus many advanced selections. Performance and ripe date will differ in other parts of the U.S., to be sure, but there is still much valuable information that you can learn by perusing this resource. Our most recent annual research report to the South Carolina Peach Council has been posted in the “Related Resources” part of the Commercial Growers section if you would like to download and read it.
The growing following of my Everything About Peaches FaceBook page and PeachDoctor tweets on Twitter is benefitting from diverse and regular news and information as it happens. Since launching in 2011, I have made more than 439 posts /“tweets” with everything from peach news around the world to a video of a honeybee pollinating a peach flower, stories about invasive species, information about biological control, new uses (i.e., froodles) for peaches and even peach art. Please review these posts when you have time and stay fresh as new ones are added. Feel free to comment and participate in the discussion with me and with other friends.
Feel free to add a link to my website from your farm website if you think it would be helpful to your customers. Also, feel free to “like” and add a link to my FaceBook and Twitter pages so that interested customers can stay up-to-date with the latest information I post – usually daily. I welcome feedback from you on what additional resources would be helpful and useful for you. Please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column by Dr. Desmond R. Layne, “Everything About Peaches – New Learning Opportunities” appeared in the May 2012 issue of The American Fruit Grower magazine on page 50.
Desmond R. Layne, Ph.D., is an associate professor of pomology, tree fruit specialist, and state program team leader for horticulture at Clemson University. He is also president of the American Pomological Society.
For more information, go to www.clemson.edu/peach.