While Washington State University has long been known for wheat breeding and other significant crop and plant research, the University’s scientists have also made significant strides in understanding the importance of soil and soil health.
Here are just a few articles on findings and research at WSU on soil health; you can find more at WSU News and on the Crop and Soil Sciences website. You can also read more about influential soil scientist Jim Cook in “Soil Man” (in this issue).
The straight, long rows of tall and thin loblolly pine grow very fast in the South’s flat lands, especially compared to the slow-growing Douglas fir on steep Pacific Northwest slopes.
It’s just one of many differences that Travis Keatley (’99 Forest Mgmt.) has witnessed as he manages more than seven million acres of timber across 11 states for Weyerhaeuser.
As vice president of southern timberlands for the timber, land, and forest products company, Keatley works out of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and travels from Florida to Virginia to Louisiana, and all states in between, as he oversees Weyerhaeuser’s … » More …
A unique look at the interplay between wild North American bees, European bees, and Washington farmers.
Photographer Zach Mazur ’06 highlights the apian stars of Southeast Washington’s thriving alfalfa seed industry. The spare yet stunning landscape is home to millions of native alkali bees which, together with leafcutter bees, make Walla Walla County one of the nation’s top producers.
Read more about wild bees and pollinators in “Plan Bee.”
“I quit working in 1996,” says master winemaker David “Merf” Merfeld ’13. That was the year he got a job at Bert Grant’s Brewery in Yakima—one of the early craft breweries in the region.
Merf’s passion for fermentation started in his kitchen a few years earlier. He’d driven west to Seattle from the family farm in Iowa. “Thirty, thirty-one hours straight through,” he says, with maybe an “hour stop for a rain storm in South Dakota.” He was in the ’79 Park Avenue his dad gave him: “a great ride, and everything I owned fit in that car.” The first thing he and the buddy … » More …
Every wine has a tale and deserves a wine label that can tell that story
That’s what motivates Jim Carey (‘78 Comm.) and Jim Craig from Doubleknot Creative in Seattle, a branding and design firm that has carved out a niche crafting the artwork that graces many Washington vintages.
The designers have seen wine labels in Washington evolve along with the varietals and the state’s wine industry as a whole. Washington wines continue to build reputation and credibility, and going against big hitters like California’s Napa Valley, “world-class wine deserves world-class packaging,” says Craig, the creative director of the firm.
Come late summer, Alaska’s farmland blooms with romance and colorful ruffles. It’s the season for peonies in the north country—an unlikely floral industry that, thanks to bridal demand, has given rise to a surprising horticultural gold rush.
The lure is especially tempting for those with small parcels of land. Wayne ’76 and Patti ’75 Floyd, for example, joined the stampede in 2011 with only two acres, and have since created a successful business claiming both national and international markets.
“We’d had this farm bug in our hearts from the beginning but we were never in a place that we could do that,” says Patti. … » More …
In the shadowy spaces and the sunny clearings of high Northwest forests, the huckleberry waits for an eager human or bear in the late summer. Imbued with an intense sweet-sour flavor, this coveted wild treat might peek out from its glossy leaves in a jealously-protected secret location, but it will be sought and often found.
Seekers of the huckleberry—whether they are Native Americans, more recent residents of the area, or the berry-loving grizzly and black bears—hunt incessantly for the deep purple to red fruit. Even if they aren’t pickers, any Northwesterner or visitor would still find it hard to miss the huckleberry jams, shakes, pies, … » More …
A 9-year-old slave girl fanned her young mistress to keep the flies off her while she learned her lessons. Because she picked up enough education to be able to read and write a little, she ended up teaching other slaves and ex-slaves.
Her daughter became a schoolteacher, married to a Presbyterian minister in segregated Columbus, Ohio. The couple passed on the family mantras to their children: “You must get an education to get ahead” and “you must be a credit to our race.”
Their children, the second generation born free, took the advice to heart, attending college and becoming teachers and professionals. One of them, … » More …
For millennia, bread baking has been more craft than science. Even the current trend in artisan bread rejects much of what modern science has wrought: the advances of manufactured yeast, dough conditioners, added preservatives and the overall industrialization of wheat and bread production.
“The bread zeitgeist is about being ancient, primitive, natural, and pretty much anything but modern,” writes Nathan Myhrvold in his recent 2,642-page … » More …