Plant breeders can take a lot of inspiration from different sources — farmers’ markets, customers… even chefs! When looking to create new, tasty varieties, breeders often to go these masters of the kitchen to see what they want to cook with. What are they looking for in terms of carrots, tomatoes, green beans, and more?
On Wednesday, May 31, Seed Speaks is diving into the benefits of working with chefs to create new varieties with two panelists: Irwin Goldman and Michael Mazourek. The two both work with chefs in completely different ways — while Goldman’s program looks to chefs to help understand the direction he should go in as a breeder, Mazourek’s lab looks to learn from chefs themselves to make breeding decisions.
Here’s what to know about our panelists:
Irwin Goldman, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison — Goldman has been a professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1992, where his position is in cross-pollinated vegetable crop breeding and genetics. His program includes carrot, onion, and table beet. Goldman works closely with undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and is actively involved in preparing them for careers in plant breeding. Their work involves field and greenhouse operations. Since these crops are biennials, he spends a lot of time working on classical breeding strategies. Goldman teaches courses in vegetable crops, plant breeding, plants and wellbeing, and food systems. His training has been at the University of Illinois (bachelor of science and post doc), North Carolina State University (master of science) and University of Wisconsin (PhD).
Michael Mazourek, Calvin Knoyes Keeney Associate Professor of Vegetable Breeding at Cornell University — Mazourek is a breeder of peas, beans, squash, cucumbers and peppers and has released numerous cultivars and breeding materials that are shared by small, regional seed companies and incorporated into the breeding programs of the world’s largest seed companies. His specialty is biochemical genetics in vegetables; he explores the diverse phytochemistry that plants use to repel pests and herbivores, reward and nourish pollinators and seed dispersers and cope with environmental stresses, with a goal of maximizing nutrition and sustainability. Mazourek is also on the board of directors for the Open Source Seed Initiative.