Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture
University of California
Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture


Spanish Translation of the New Cost and Return Study for Strawberries on the Central Coast Now Available

We've just completed a Spanish translation of the the newest UC ANR sample cost and return study on conventional strawberry and attached it here.

Gracias a professional translator sine pari Diego Celes of Transagro, we have a clear, easily readable and super accessible translation, so even more people can take advantage of the valuable information presented in this cost and return study.

I am really, very, very happy to have been able to do this.

Hat tip to colleague Laura Tourte, who decided that we should do this and made it happen.

(SPAN) StrawberryCentralCoast-2016-FINAL-6-15-2017
(SPAN) StrawberryCentralCoast-2016-FINAL-6-15-2017

Posted on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Here is a Reminder Why You Should Always Use Your Safety Gear When Spraying

Anybody who has sprayed with me knows how uptight I am about wearing all the safety equipment required by the label, and for sure safety glasses always.  You only have one pair of eyes.

This morning was only the second time this has happened in a two decade career of spraying, but here you go. No idea of how this came about, but a splash of formulated product got up around my eyes, but fortunately I had my safety glasses on. Sticky stuff too, so it would hurt like the dickens and would have been a bear to wash out.  Since I had my glasses on, it never got there, so rather than having a disaster today, I just wiped it off the droplet and kept going.

Stay safe and have a nice day.



Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 8:49 AM
Tags: safety (1)

White Strawberries in Japan

Really interesting video forwarded to me by colleague Steven Koike this morning concerning a largish "white strawberry" grown in Japan.  Cultivated in Karatsu in the south, these berries fetch an eye popping equivalent of 40 bucks a tray.  That said, the grower, Teshima Yasuhito, is only harvesting 10% of the fruit since expected grade is very, very high.

Sorry, can't embed this video, so you have to follow the link, the video is very high quality and worth the watch.



Small quibble, but an important one since it concerns the translation of an aspect of the fruit's flavor.  The grower is made to claim that in a way the flavor is "mysterious" but that is not what exactly he says.  He says it is "fushigi" (不思議) which does not translate to "mysterious".  Consider that the title "Alice in Wonderland" translates to "Fushigi no kuni no Alice" (不思議の国のアリス) we can deduce that he is actually saying it is a "wonder" or maybe even "amazing".

At any rate, sure would like to try one to make my own assessment of this white strawberry, and maybe someday I will.

6/15/2017 Reader and strawberry grower Thomas Flewell adds the following comment concerning white strawberries and strawberries in Asia in general:

"Hi Mark: I have sampled several of the Japanese strawberry varieties at a greenhouse operated by my client in central China. The flavors are all distinctive and very different to the taste expected from strawberries in the US. Among those I  tasted was a white strawberry from Japan. Not sure it was the same one mentioned in your blog. The US and the Asian market criteria for what makes a good strawberry are very different to one another - literally worlds apart."

Thanks Steve for the forward!

H/T Thom Flewell, thank you.


Posted on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 2:13 PM
Tags: Japan (1), white strawberries (1)

Sustainability Problems with 'Repackaged' Synthetic Nitrogen in Organic Agriculture


Should we be able to use synthetic fertilizers in organic agriculture since the organic ones we can use in these systems are repackaged synthetics anyway? This was discussed at a really great lunch meeting today with scientists and growers (THANK YOU Mark C.!), and it's something that is really thought provoking.  Watch the video (it's only 5 min), Dr. Brennan can explain way better than I can.  Give it some thought.

H/T Eric Brennan.

Comments welcome.

Posted on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 5:10 PM
Tags: eric brennan (1), fertilizer (5), nitrogen (15), organic (4)

Rapid Diagnosis of Soilborne Diseases of Strawberry and Other Crops


Under the guidance of USDA-ARS and other researchers, and with the help of the California Strawberry Commission and other supporters, the UC Cooperative Extension diagnostic laboratory in Salinas finally has joined the 21st century regarding molecular diagnostic technologies. A DNA-based test is now being implemented to detect and confirm important soilborne diseases of coastal crops. This method can complete the diagnostic process in a few hours, compared to the conventional culture method, which usually takes several days.

The Need.                                                                                                                                 

Rapid, accurate, and dependable diagnosis of plant diseases is an essential part of agriculture production. Without knowing the precise agent responsible for the disease, growers, pest control advisers, and other field personnel are hampered when making disease management decisions. Soilborne diseases are particularly challenging to identify. In general, the appearances of the various root rots, crown rots, plant collapses, and vascular wilts all look very similar, making it virtually impossible to diagnose these based on symptoms alone. The UC Cooperative Extension laboratory has some very accurate culture methods to grow out and detect all of these soilborne pathogens. However, such culture techniques are relatively slow and take from three to seven days to complete. For our fast growing coastal crops a more rapid means of disease diagnosis would well serve the growers.                                        

The Method.                                                                                                                                          

The new method goes by the name “RPA” which stands for recombinase polymerase amplification. The RPA method, like many other technologies such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is based on DNA components (called primers and probe) that specifically recognize the corresponding DNA found in the target pathogen. However, all PCR methods depend on extracting and purifying the pathogen DNA; getting the DNA out is costly (one needs to buy expensive equipment to analyze the sample) and it requires more time to complete the elaborate procedures. RPA is perfectly suited to an extension laboratory, like the one in Salinas, because DNA purification is not needed as the test uses ground up, crude plant extracts as a source of unpurified DNA (see photos below).

Pathogens Detected.                                                                                                        

Presently the UC Cooperative Extension laboratory offers RPA diagnostic tests for two pathogens. Phytophthora causes root and crown rots on strawberry, raspberry, and a number of vegetable crops and ornamental/forest plants. Our Phytophthora tests are either genus-specific (it will detect Phytophthora infecting many types of plants) or species-specific for the two pathogens that mostly attack strawberry (P. cactorum and P. fragariae) (Table 1). Our other RPA test detects the specific type of Macrophomina phaseolina that causes severe crown rot and collapse of strawberry. Because this Macrophomina RPA is designed for the strawberry pathogen and not for Macrophomina that infects other crops, this is called a genotype-specific test (Table 1). This summer we anticipate adding tests for the Verticillium wilt pathogen (V. dahliae that infects many crops) and the Fusarium wilt pathogen of strawberry (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae). All tests analyze infected plant material only. However, it is hoped that our continuing research will adapt RPA or more sophisticated molecular techniques for detecting these pathogens in soil.

Table 1. RPA tests currently available at the UC Cooperative Extension laboratory.

Category of test





Detects this pathogen in all plants, such as strawberry, raspberry, pepper, asparagus, tomato, avocado, ornamentals, forest species (sudden oak death pathogen)


Phytophthora cactorum

Primarily for strawberry but this pathogen can be found on ornamentals such as coffee berry


Phytophthora fragariae

For strawberry


Macrophomina phaseolina

For Macrophomina that infects strawberry


The Future.                                                                                                                               

Because this RPA method is similar in design to PCR, and PCR is used to develop the DNA tools (primers) to detect any sort of organism, the RPA platform is open ended. It should be possible to readily develop RPA tests for any organism that has DNA, such as other pathogenic fungi and bacteria, nematodes, and even perhaps specialized sub-groups of organisms such as insect biotypes.


This advance in rapid, accurate disease diagnostics was developed and implemented by the following research and extension team: Mark Bolda (UC Extension, Santa Cruz Co.), Alyssa Burkhardt (USDA-ARS, Salinas), Oleg Daugovish (UC Extension, Ventura Co.), Steven Koike (UC Extension, Monterey Co.), Frank Martin (USDA-ARS, Salinas), Stacy Mauzey (UC Extension, Monterey Co.), Tim Miles (CSU Monterey Bay), and Cayla Tsuchida (UC Extension, Monterey Co.). This research was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, California Avocado Commission CSU Agricultural Research Institute (grant 5219101A), and the USDA-California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (grants SCB12051 and SCB14052 awarded to F. Martin).

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 1:22 PM

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