Production of Specialty Crops for Ethnic Markets in the United States

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Dyremple B. MarshDepartment of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Home Economics, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO 65101

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The number of people of Caribbean, African, and Asian descent living in the United States is quite high. Most of these people live in diverse ethnic centers, such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta. It might be profitable to provide traditional foods (2, 3) for these groups. Many of these foods already are imported into the United States. However, importation sometimes is not possible because of (a) inadequate storage facilities, (b) low cost effectiveness, and (c) small amounts that need to be imported (J.R. Suah, CARDI, personal communication). Three of these crops that may be grown in Missouri are hot pepper, ‘Scotch Bonnet,’ a low moisture pumpkin, ‘Calabash,’ and yam. ‘Scotch Bonnet,’ pepper grown under tropical conditions is semiperennial with peak production occurring in the first year. ‘Calabash’ pumpkin, requires a growing season of at least 7 months. Yam requires a 6- to 10-month growing period under tropical conditions. The potential production of these vegetables in the United States has not been adequately investigated. We, therefore, investigated their performance under mid-Missouri growing conditions.

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Received for publication 31 Aug. 1987. Journal paper no. A6101-87 of the Lincoln University Agricultural Experiment Station. I gratefully acknowledge the provision of seeds by Joe Suah, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Kingston, Jamaica. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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