Volume 71 Number 1 Article 8 Pages: 59-61
Year 2017 Month 1
Title: George M. Darrow: The Dean of Small Fruits
Authors: Marvin P. Pritts and Alyssa A. Pritts
George Darrow was one of the leading pomologists of the mid-20th century having a 46-year career with
the United States Department of Agriculture.
During his appointment as small fruit breeder in Glendale and
Beltsville, Maryland, he released a number of significant fruit cultivars. ‘Blakemore’ strawberry and ‘Bluecrop’
blueberry dominated the industry after their releases.
Darrow also wrote the definitive work at the time entitled
“The Strawberry” - a valuable reference book to this day.
The introduction to this book was written by Henry
Wallace, the vice-president of the United States.
Darrow did pioneering work on photoperiodism and perfected
techniques to propagate and distribute virus-indexed strawberry plants.
Darrow received many awards including
the Wilder Medal (1948) and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society (1960). He
was elected fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science in 1965 and served as its president in 1949.
He was inducted posthumously into the Maryland Hall of Fame in 1996. Darrow retired in 1957, but his joy of
working with plants remained steadfast.
He started a pick-your-own strawberry farm with his sons in Maryland
and began a robust daylily breeding program which produced 59 cultivars.
His failing eyesight ultimately deterred
Darrow died at age 94 after a stellar career.
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