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Viele Highlights auf der BioFach 2008

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Organic Seed Alliance and the University of Wisconsin - Madison have announced the release of a new sweet corn variety called Who Gets Kissed?. The openpollinated variety is the first in a series of organic sweet corn releases developed through participatory plant breeding, where farmers and formal breeders collaborate on farm-based breeding projects to improve agricultural crops. “Our approach to plant breeding is what sets ‘Who Gets Kissed?’ apart from other sweet corn varieties in the marketplace,” says Micaela Colley, executive director of Organic Seed Alliance. “’Who Gets Kissed?’ was not only bred under organic farming conditions, but organic farmers were equal partners in the breeding effort.”

The story of the new variety’s development starts with Minnesota farmer Martin Diffley. Diffley couldn’t find an organic sweet corn variety with adequate vigor and that tolerated his farm’s cool soils. He approached Dr. John Navazio, OSA’s senior scientist at the time, who put Martin in touch with University of Wisconsin - Madison sweet corn breeder Bill Tracy. Tracy was already selecting for cool soil emergence in sweet corn, and a collaborative plant-breeding project emerged. ‘Who Gets Kissed?’ is an open-pollinated sweet corn variety with yellow and white kernels that yields well, tolerates cool soils, and is resistant to common rust and corn smut. It also demonstrates superior flavor and sweetness. Because it’s open-pollinated, growers are encouraged to save and select seed from their harvests to adapt the variety to their own local conditions and market needs.

The variety’s name is based on a game played at corn husking bees – a historic community event that coupled husking corn with fun activities, such as dancing. Corn was much more genetically diverse back then, and when a person found an ear with all red kernels, known as a “pokeberry ear,” instead of yellow kernels, they could choose one person among the group to kiss. The new variety is available for purchase through High Mowing Organic Seeds. More information is available at the Organic Seed Alliance.


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