Professor Emeritus of Plant Breeding and Genetics Bernard “Bernie” Pollack passed away on July 14, at the age of 94. Pollack joined Rutgers in 1960 as faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry, and retired in 1985. While his work in vegetable breeding extended to eggplant, pepper, and tomatoes, Pollack is most renowned for his development of the Ramapo tomato, which, in the 1960s, offered New Jersey fresh market growers a tomato with quality, disease and crack resistance, and durability. As the popularity of this tomato never waned despite its disappearance from the market, during his retirement, Pollack assisted NJAES in bringing this variety back to market.
During the 1970s Pollack worked extensively with New Jersey growers doing vegetable variety trials and implementing trickle irrigation and plasticulture systems. Working with USAID and the Peace Corps, he travelled throughout Africa to further the development of trickle irrigation in African agriculture. During his travels, he collected eggplant germplasm and created one of the most extensive collections, containing 536 eggplant varieties. He worked on assessing exotic eggplant germplasm to develop valuable new traits for worldwide agriculture. [Read more...]