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[nafex] Re: Are your plants working for you? AKA, Ruthless culling
I agree with you from one perspective: many of the "old"
varieties from a taste/texture perspective are not worth saving. I
had grafted a bunch of "old" varieties on a tree and then later
discovered at an apple tasting that most of them were mealy w/out
But I guess I've read (and maybe I'm being bamboozled here), that
a large percentage of livestock varieties (and by extension
horticultural varieties) are rapidly disappearing (i.e. in cattle
almost all milk production is from Holsteins and beef from Angus as
both are superior for those given tasks ) and genetic variation is
Some of those varieties might contain genes that might be needed
in the future (maybe this is moot because of genetic engineering).
You noted that the station was now defunct, so those "varieties" may
be lost. I have read that if a characteristic is available in a semi-
domesticated or cultivar it is better to breed from that than from a
wild variety, as far fewer "undesirable" genes have to be weeded out.
Of course this comes back to how much of one's own property one
wants to sink into varieties that aren't "the best". But I guess I
feel it does argue for preservation of some of the better older
SE PA, zone 6
Also, I enjoyed and appreciate your comparrison to the brief
influences of a flock of sheep.
Many (perhaps most) fruit species have had this exact same
that it has hung around for many centuries. This is possibly the one
became crystal clear during my trip to Russia wherein I had the good
view many wild forests of apple and pear. Also, the collection at
Mycop station likewise had an incredible number of really unusual
And this continues under the pretentious idea of importance of
many, if not most old varieities. The most unusual and intriguing
thing about this
statement is that with a lot of folks, this very simple observation
some sort of "blasphemy" or something "bad".
My good friend Tom Burford was quoted in Frank Browning's book,
something to the effect, "......far too many folks have a severe case
The late Bob Kurle once told me that I should not make such
within NAFEX, there were many so-called "preservation minded folks
unwilling to even look at the facts".
Later on, sometime in the mid-80s, during a visit with the late
Fred Janson, I
asked him to address this preservation question. His response was a
detailed or he simply stated that this sort of moral hogwash was
common to the
acceptible definition of human "logic". He went on to reference
observations of what goes on in the natural process of evolution. He
emphasized the basic fact that horticulture was exactly like all
other forms of
food production. Or, because of the need to feed the population, it
artificial in nearly every conceivable way simply because humans were
species on the planet where a few fed the masses.
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