Oct. 26 Regular Meeting

October 26, 7 p.m. Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park – Driving Directions

Doctoral candidate and pomegranate grower John M. Chater will talk to us about some of the amazing work being done with the pomegranate.

John M. Chater is the grandson of California pomegranate breeder Sassin John Chater, who lived in Ventura County and was a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers for several years.  John graduated from UCSB in 2004 and worked for Suntory and Jackson and Perkins Roses at their research and breeding facility in Somis, CA.  After Suntory, John worked for a soils engineering firm in Ventura County before being persuaded by his colleagues to pursue graduate work.  He applied and was accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2009 where he received a Master of Science in agriculture with a specialization in crop science.  It was there he began research on pomegranate under fruit scientist and pomologist Professor Lauren Garner in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department.  His research at Cal Poly involved applying foliar nutrient applications on trees to reduce split in ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates.  After Cal Poly, he was accepted into the plant biology Ph.D. program in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.  At UCR, John has done work on pomegranate propagation, fruit and juice quality, and orchard establishment.  He works under Dr. Donald Merhaut, an environmental horticulture specialist.  Merhaut Lab currently has two pomegranate cultivar trials, one in Riverside, CA and one in Ventura County, CA, where they have planted 12 different pomegranate cultivars, 15 trees per cultivar, in experimental designs to evaluate their establishment, precocity (flowering and fruiting), usefulness to growers, and desirability to consumers.  He has advanced to candidacy for his doctorate degree and is currently writing manuscripts for his dissertation.  In 2015, he started a pomegranate breeding program to continue his grandfather’s work.