Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

In this episode of the Cultivariable podcast, I talk with Chris Homanics, a plant preservationist, breeder, and farmer in the Willamette Valley. Chris is well known for his work with perennial kales and chestnut preservation and breeding.  He also does a lot of work with fruit trees, particularly apples, pears, and persimmons, and is very active in regional efforts to preserve and expand agricultural biodiversity.

As is often the case, this interview was done over cell phone and outdoors, so the noise gets a bit thick in places.

You can find Chris on Facebook and you can also donate to help with his preservation work.

3 thoughts on “Podcast #8: Chris Homanics

  1. Austin says:

    Bill, thank you for making these podcasts available. While listening, I was inspired by an idea that you and Chris might find useful. With Nick and Carla Botner’s permission, Chris you could collect a larger quantity of apple seeds. I would suggest assembling both single cultivar and broad category mixes. Examples might include late flowering, disease resistant, early ripening, red fleshed, main crop, long storing, etc. And Bill, if you agree, I feel that Cultivariable would be an ideal platform to make these apple seeds available. I feel that many people would like to plant apple trees from seed. What are your thoughts?

    • bill says:

      Hey Austin. Unfortunately, I suspect that it wouldn’t be possible to make money on apple seeds. It is a lot of work to collect and process them, demand is small, they require special storage, and they have a short period of viability. For it to make sense, I think someone would need to be processing the apples already, with the seeds as a by-product.

  2. Chris Homanics says:

    Thanks for the comment Austin. I do collect seed from Botner’s orchard from time to time. But, it’s not really profitable to do that sort of activity. A lot of apples need to be hauled, bletted until mushy, gently mashed, and decanted. For the volume processed, not many apple seeds are gained. Some varieties barely produce any seed because they are triploid, some genetically diverse apple pollinated it but didn’t successfully create a seed,a Coddling Moth ate the seed, the seed was moldy in the core, etc. That said I do happen to have a small amount of OP seed available of two of my favorite apples – Centennial and Winter Red Flesh. I’ll have some seed available for the next couple weeks. Send me an email.

    At this point, I’m mostly focusing on continuing to preserve the diversity there by observing the top 10% of apples there and disseminating scion wood through the group I cofounded called Agrarian Sharing Network with friends and collaborators. We hold propagation fairs throughout western Oregon and one near Seattle, Wa. You can find us on Facebook. I am also targeting varieties that have yet to be grafted successfully at Temperate Orchard Society which has replicated his collection in Molalla, OR and collected many other apples. http://www.temperateorchardconservancy.org/

    If you are interested in quality apple seeds from targeted crosses of some suprebe apple varieties, I recommend checking out my friend Steven Edholm’s work. He has a youtube channel and also a store where he sells apple seeds, apple pollen, and more. https://www.youtube.com/user/1sustainablehedonist http://skillcult.com/store/apple-seeds-various-open-pollinated

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