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Stemless Cherry Project Reaches Milestones, Launches New Web Site

PROSSER, Wash. — In order to remain competitive in the global market, the world’s biggest sweet cherry producers have banded together to drive innovation along the entire production chain. The molecules-to-market project, called “A total systems approach to developing a sustainable, stem-free sweet cherry production, processing and marketing system,” is just completing its first year of research.

The project has just launched a new web site,, which features research news, videos, photos and the 2010 annual report. The project’s goals include:

  • Developing high-efficiency, productive angled fruiting wall orchard systems;
  • Establishing the genetic bases for sweet cherry abscission;
  • Improving labor efficiency and safety by developing mechanical and/or mechanical assist harvest technologies;
  • Extending the shelf-life and increasing consumer appeal of sweet cherries;
  • Analyzing system profitability, market potential, and developing economic models for outreach and adoption.

Milestones reached in 2010 include:

  • Establishment of test orchards in California, Oregon and Washington;
  • Phenotyping of cherry cultivars and advanced breeding selections for pedicel-fruit retention force and fruit texture and flavor attributes;
  • Documented expression of known abscission genetic pathways in sweet cherry;
  • Field testing of an upgraded mechanical harvester and other mechanical-assistance equipment.

The four-year project is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Special Crop Research Initiative grant. Participating collaborators include Washington State University, Oregon State University, Michigan State University, the University of California, and Picker Technologies.


Media Contacts

Tracie Arnold, PR/Communications Coordinator, 509-786-2226;