Backyard Orchard News
Every once in a while you see it.And it's a real treat--especially when it's a bee garden that's...
Black-faced bumble bee "posing" on grey musk sage. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of black-faced bumble bee nectaring on grey musk sage. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The GEM avocado is the great-granddaughter of Hass avocado, which is currently the industry standard in California. GEM has all the excellent characteristics of Hass avocados - creamy, nutty flesh; dark, pebbly skin when ripe - and it has additional benefits for the grower, according to Mary Lu Arpaia, a UC Cooperative Extension subtropical horticulturist based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, Calif.
"Hass avocados are alternate bearing - they will produce a big crop one year, and a small crop the next. GEM is more consistent, so growers can make money every year," Arpaia said. "The trees are also more compact, which means growers have less costs for harvesting and tree maintenance."
GEM was part of an extensive avocado variety breeding program led since the 1950s by UC Riverside plant breeder Bob Bergh. Arpaia took over the program in 1996.
In the early 1980s, Bergh released a variety he called the Gwen. However, Gwen didn't turn black when it ripened, a disadvantage because consumers are accustomed to Hass. In the mid 80s, Bergh planted more than 60,000 avocado variety seedlings on farms across Southern California. GEM, a granddaughter of Gwen, was one.
There are GEM trees growing at the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. Fruit samples are sent to the Kearney Sensory Laboratory, where volunteers judge the fruit's outward appearance and compare the flavor with Hass.
Recently, UC Riverside signed an exclusive license agreement with Westfalia Fruit Estates, a South African company, to market GEM around the world, the university announced. In the United States, the California–based Brokaw Nursery has non-exclusive rights to the GEM avocado.
For information on GEM avocado sensory testing, see the one-minute video below.
For at least three days, he visited our yard.He swooped over our fish pond and swimming pool and...
Flame skimmer perched on a bamboo stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flame skimmer outlined against the sky. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of flamer skimmer with native bee in his mouth. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you head over to the California State Fair, which opened July 14 and continues through July 31,...
Monarch butterfly cutout in front of the Insect Pavilion at the Caifornia State Fair. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful monarch butterflies are in sharp contrast to the painted cutout (above). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of bee observation hive in the Insect Pavilion. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Blue damselflies should be on "Dancing with Stars." Because, in many respects, they ARE the...
Damselfly's compound eyes don't miss much. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Slender as a needle, a damselfly warms itself, preparing for flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)