In a recent webinar, plant scientist Eliza Greenman briefly explained how the Savanna Institute has chosen which key crops to focus its plant breeding and improvement work on:

Sign detailing Persimmons as crops

American Persimmon

Most nutrient-dense native fruit in the US
Canopy density allows for adequate light transmission for pasture growth
High value wood
Existing markets in the Midwst for “persimmon pudding”

Hybrid Hazelnuts

Existing specialty markets
Biodiesel alternative to soy
Hazelnut meat is an excellent commodity livestock feed
Hedgerow plantings are machine harvestable
Sign for Hazelnuts as crops
Sign detailing American Elderberry as a crop

American Elderberry

Existing US market demand
All selections are from the wild
Bushes can be annually coppiced
Can be cold-pressed

Black Currant

Cold hardy
Shade tolerant
Existing US market demand
Machine harvestable
Excels in poor soils
Sign detailing black currants as a crop
Sign detailing Chinese chestnuts as a crop

Chinese Chestnut

Resistant to chestnut blight and ink disease
High carbohydrate food source
Existing demand exceeding supply
Seedlings out-perform grafted trees
Late blooming, escaping frost