Apple Hill farmers and specialty crop producers throughout El Dorado and Amador counties have a new direct link to the University of California. Lynn Wunderlich has been appointed the UC Cooperative Extension pomology, horticulture and specialty crops farm advisor for the region.
In her new position, Wunderlich will conduct research and education programs aimed at the area's unique and diverse mix of tree fruit and specialty crops. The region is famous for its small-farm, direct-marketed apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums and walnuts, as well as mandarins, berries, pumpkins and vegetables. Wunderlich will also oversee El Dorado County's highly successful Master Gardener program.
"Lynn is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable professional with a breadth of work experience that farmers in the area will benefit from in many ways," said Kim Rodrigues, director of the county Cooperative Extension programs in the North Coast and Mountain Region. "In addition to supporting the value-added marketing niche the area is known for, she'll also be helping farmers adopt new methods of pest control, enhance irrigation efficiency and address other production challenges."
A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Wunderlich earned her bachelor's degree in bacteriology in 1985 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked in the University's Plant Pathology Department assisting in apple scab research. Since her arrival in California in 1986, Wunderlich has worked in a wide range of crops, including sugar beets, grapes, strawberries, artichokes, apples and avocados. She gained experience implementing the codling moth degree-day model for apples while researching codling moth mating disruption techniques on the Central Coast.
Wunderlich earned her master's degree in the Plant Protection and Pest Management Program at UC Davis in 1997. For her thesis research, she designed and evaluated a liquid delivery system for distributing eggs of beneficial insects under the direction of Ken Giles, UC Davis biological and agricultural engineer. Her career includes working for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, as well as UC Cooperative Extension offices in Ventura and, most recently, Monterey counties. While in Monterey, Wunderlich served as the Central Coast vegetable IPM Project coordinator. She conducted on-farm research in developing and implementing an IPM program for lettuce and celery and delivered the results of that program in a newsletter and through a website.
"Being appointed a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor is the culmination of a life-long career goal for me," Wunderlich said. "I look forward to working with the growers here and providing a link to the University's campus-based specialists to help sustain their unique small-farm operations."