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   Blueprint For Produce: How Fruits & Vegetables Are Designed For The Market
by Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle
Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 at 8:54AM EDT

Take a deep sniff of a standard cantaloupe at your local supermarket and you might not be able to tell whether it’s ripe or not.

That’s because the Harper melon has taken over the produce bin. Previously, the cantaloupe variety you would see in the store was likely the Western Shipper, a breed that, despite its prosaic name, would peak in aroma and flavor when ripe. Other than a greener tinge under its tan netting — the fuzzy vein of raised lines above the smooth skin — the Harper looks almost identical to the Western Shipper. It’s easier to harvest and ships better, and is still plenty sweet. But the flavor doesn’t compare to the Western Shipper.

“In the early years, most of our effort was really geared toward grower traits — yield, degree of netting, size, shape, maturity. That was really where the early genetic improvement was being made,” says melon breeder Bill Copes, in the demonstration garden of the international seed company HM Clause in Davis.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: San Francisco Chronicle


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