Thank you to all who joined us for our event Physalis: From the Garden to the Table! It was an opportunity for us to thank our participants as well as share a little bit about this year’s Physalis Improvement Project, all while enjoying Physalis foods! Dishes included goldenberry granola, groundcherry and goldenberry salsa, groundcherry fruit salad, and a tomatillo jam. We also had three types of goldenberry and six types of groundcherry available for taste-testing.
For this year’s project, farmers and home gardeners across the United States received seed from us in early Spring, and have been growing three different species of Physalis: groundcherry, goldenberry, and tomatillo. As before, growers provided feedback on their experiences growing these species. Similar to last year, the three-lined potato beetle continued to be a major pest, especially for goldenberry.
At this year’s event we also heard from Julie Davis, a PhD student in the Department of Entomology, who has been researching the three-lined potato beetle! In her lab experiments she found that there are differences in resistance to the three-lined potato beetle across species (P. pruinosa vs. P. peruviana) and types (e.g. SA, GB, IN). She was able to identify differences in chemical traits, but none that strongly explain differences in herbivore resistance. Therefore, more work needs to be done to understand what makes Physalis more or less resistant to the three-lined potato beetle.
If you would like to check out the presentations from the event I’ve made them available online at btiscience.org/physalis. Additionally, this year’s project gifts were reusable shopping bags. If you missed out on getting one and would like one please let me know by sending an e-mail.