Commercial Production of Currants and Gooseberries in the Inland Northwest and Intermountain West of the United States: Opportunities and Risks

in HortTechnology

During the 1800s and early 1900s, red and white currants (Ribes L. subgenus Ribes), black currants (Ribes subgenus Coreosma), and gooseberries (Ribes subgenus Grossularia) were grown commercially in the United States. Because Ribes serve as alternative hosts of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J. C. Fischer) (WPBR), which was introduced from Europe, the federal government and many states either banned or severely restricted currant and gooseberry production beginning about 1933. The development of WPBR resistant pines and black currants (the most susceptible cultivated Ribes) renewed interest in commercial Ribes production. Climatic and soil conditions in selected areas of the U.S. inland northwest and intermountain west (INIW) are favorable for commercial currant and gooseberry production. Challenges to the establishment of a Ribes industry are labor, marketing, diseases, and pests. Careful site and cultivar selection are critical for successful commercial production. This article describes Ribes opportunities and risks associated with currant and gooseberry production in the INIW. The region includes Idaho and surrounding areas in Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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