"We have been working to refine the media and methodology for a new state-of-the-art process that greatly increases production levels of virus-free stock," says Mr. Victor. "These new methods allow large-scale production of plants in significantly less time than traditional propagation, giving us the ability to quickly react to changes in the agriculture industry."
The company has cataloged a large selection of virus-free public varieties of hops, in addition to producing private selections, as part of its agricultural sales division. Other items in production include apple rootstock, blueberries, blackberries, cherry rootstock and wine grapes. The lab will also produce a variety of perennials and ornamental grasses.
To supplement the tissue culture lab, a new clean-stock greenhouse will become operational this October. Debbie Thorne, Skagit Horticulture's head of Agricultural Sales, is excited about the potential. "Our nursery is ideally located in the heart of the Yakima Valley, close to many of the largest producers of apples, hops, grapes, and small fruit in our state. Now, when consumer preferences change, or a breeder wishes to introduce a new variety, we can help the industry by providing clean, virus-free plants in a short timeframe," says Ms. Thorne.