Spuds, Barley, Beer & Wine

It’s a Fact

According to the Washington Potato Commission, “The potato belongs to the family Solanaceae, and is known to scientists as Solanum tuberosum . Other members of the family are the tomato, pepper (green, chili, jalapeno, etc.), eggplant, nightshade, belladonna, petunia, and tobacco.” Through direct and indirect sales, potatoes contribute about $3 billion per year to the Washington economy.

On Solid Ground is a weekly, electronic newsletter for the friends and stakeholders of the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Extension and the WSU Agricultural Research Center.

Growing Barley for Better Beer

WSU researcher Diter von Wettstein leads a team of scientists working to breed a new spring barley cultivar with improved grain texture for malting that is adapted to growing in draught and high temperatures conditions. Von Wettstein and fellow WSU researchers Steven Ullrich and John Burns are working on breeding proanthocyanidin-free barley, which allows breweries to bottle brilliantly clear beer without chill-haze proofing.

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Beer O’Clock

Washington microbrewers have a new advocacy and marketing organization, the Washington Beer Commission, headed by Arlen Harris, a WSU graduate. “Washington is a leader in the production of craft beers, which have grown to be an important segment of the beer market,” Harris said. “One of our goals is to increase the sale of Washington beers in markets where competition is heavy from other states.” The commission will also be promoting beer tourism and help Washington microbreweries compete with large breweries with hefty advertising budgets. Harris added that the new commission will work closely with the Washington Hops Commission in order to develop and test new beer tastes. Washington hops are prized by beer makers world wide for the distinctive bitterness they impart to beer.

The commission’s promotion, research and education activities will be funded by a 10-cent per barrel assessment on a maximum of 10,000 barrels per company.

Wine Auction – Save the Date

Private wine tastings, cases of collectible cabernets and merlots, commemorative magnums and luxurious vacation getaways are just a few of the items that will be up for bid at the sixth annual “A Celebration of Washington Wines” auction Jan. 27, 2007. The event, held each year at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, benefits the Viticulture and Enology program at Washington State University. Wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike are invited to attend the black-tie event which includes a reception, silent auction, dinner and live auction. Tickets are $200 per person and can be reserved by calling Jackie Jacobs, WSU West, at (206) 219-2416. The Jan. 27 gala begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and silent auction. Dinner, prepared by the award-winning culinary staff at Chateau Ste. Michelle, includes wines paired with each course.

Seattle resident Jeff Randall, a 25-year veteran of radio and television broadcast known for his high energy and passion, will serve as this year’s auctioneer.

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