A couple of articles this week discussed breeding tomatoes and sweet peas to take advantage of different weather and climate conditions while also improving marketability. Food Arts magazine described recent work by Calvin Lamborn, the first man to produce the commercial sugar snap pea in 1979. He is now working to produce new breeds with a variety of colors and varying sweetness levels as well as ones that are better adapted to warm weather, using old-fashioned techniques. You will really enjoy reading the story of this plant breeding pioneer by Carolyn Jung by clicking here.
Meanwhile, Modern Farmer published a piece on scientists who are trying to breed a tomato that will take advantage of artificial light to grow 24 hours a day. Currently, tomatoes need a rest period of about 8 hours each day or they start to develop yellow spots on leaves and the plants get sick and may die. Recently, however, Nature published a journal article by scientists in the Netherlands who have isolated a gene that will help them overcome this need for rest and make them able to grow under 24-hour -a-day light, which would increase their productivity. For more information, click here.