By SHAGORIKA EASWAR
While most children take a toy or a book to school for show-and-tell, Varsha and Dheiksha have taken a peach. A special peach, one developed by their father Jayasankar Subramanian.
The research scientist and professor of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph has developed new varieties of disease-resistant and cold-tolerant peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries.
“There’s a major difference in taste in peaches you find at most Toronto groceries and ones you’ll find in the peach growing region,” says Dr Subramanian, explaining the economics. “In the city, what you get has been shipped in cold storage from the US. As peaches have a short shelf life, you need staggered maturing times to last the season. Because in Canada, the growing and ripening season is also short, six to seven weeks at the most between July and September, fruits from the US come in before the local fruits can hit the grocery shelves. Our growers needed varieties that ripen early, but typically, problems like split-pit – where the seed is split and there might be some fungus growth on the seed – were common in the early-ripening varieties.”