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In the first of three stories on the Missouri State Fruit Experimentation Station in Mountain Grove, KSMU's Greg Leuthen reports on the history of the Station as well as its purposes.
The calm atmosphere of the Missouri State Fruit Experimentation Station can almost make you forget that the busy intersection of Highway 60 and 95 is less than a mile away. There are four buildings on the campus filled with offices, laboratories, and bedrooms for the half-dozen graduate students living at the Station.
But the rest of the 180 acre campus consists of hillsides and fields covered with rows of apple and peach trees, strawberry and blueberry patches, and grapevines. Fruit is gathered from these fields so researchers can make observations, collect data, and conduct tests.
Dr. Laszlo Kovacs, co-director of the Center for Grapevine Biotechnology, explained some of the purposes of researching grape vineyards. He also discussed how the Station is researching diseases in grapes.
The state mandated the creation of the Fruit Experimentation Station in 1899 to serve the fruit production and processing industries in Missouri. In 1974, the Station became a part of what was then called Southwest Missouri State University. Kovacs says the Station was established in Mountain Grove because the area was part of a major fruit growing region that could use the research to its benefit.
The first director of the State Fruit Experimentation Station was J. T. Stinson, who uttered the famous phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" during a presentation to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Now the Station is trying to keep fruit away from disease.
In our next segment on the Fruit Experimentation Station, you'll hear about the latest research and find out what measures are being taken to fight disease in grapevines and reduce the use of pesticides on fruits in Missouri.