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Chengyan Yue and Bridget K. Behe

Production and marketing of ornamental plants are becoming increasingly important components of the U.S. agricultural sector. With a diverse set of retailers marketing floral products, competition is intensifying while channels of distribution are

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James W. Rushing

Mature-green tomatoes stored up to 8 weeks at 11.5°C under 4% oxygen with no accumulation of carbon dioxide above ambient had reached turning stage of color by the end of the storage period. Control tomatoes stored at identical temperature without CA quickly turned red and were unmarketable after 4 weeks due to overripenessand high incidence of decay. Tomatoes held under CA for 8 weeks and then transferred to 20°C without CA ripened normally to full-red color within 10 days with less than 10% decay and no apparent mealiness or other symptoms of chilling injury. Weight loss from tomatoes stored under CA increased with storage time, but, after 8 weeks, the fruit still did not have noticeable shrivelling and visual appearance was excellent compared to tomatoes purchased from a local supermarket. Results of this research suggest that short-term CA storage is a feasible method of expanding the market window for tomatoes. This could be particularly useful for production regions such as South Carolina, where the harvest is practically completed within a 3-week window and low prices often prevail during the harvest period.

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W.J. Bourgeois, R.J. Constantin, and M.J. Falcon

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Kris-Ann Kaiser, Anne Rothenburger, and Dr. Pat Williams

Murray State University was asked to compare different amendment percentages of worm castings incorporated into a substrate and two different soilless substrates for bedding and vegetable production by Ferry-Morse Seed Company. Both studies were performed at Murray State University's Pullen Farm Greenhouse Complex during fall 2004. Lycopersicon esculentum `Early Girl' was chosen to represent the vegetable plant category because of consumer popularity. Amendment percentages of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% of worm castings were incorporated into a soilless media substrate for Treatment 1. Treatment 2 was the same with the addition of soluble fertilized when plants were watered. Visual differences were found between Treatments 1 and 2. Zinnia elegans `Giant Cactus' were grown from seed to test chlorophyll levels, germination rates, and root:shoot ratios in Jiffy Professional Seed Starter Mix Plus and Ferry-Morse Seed Starter Mix. Statistically significant differences were found in dry root and shoot weights, along with leaf chlorophyll levels.

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Larry D. Makus, John C. Foltz, Joseph F. Guenthner, and Robert R. Tripepi

Survey data from 3 11 garden centers, landscapers, and combined garden center/landscaping firms in selected western United States trade centers were analyzed. Results identified important product and service attributes used in respondent decisions to purchase nursery stock. In general, product characteristics were ranked higher than supplier services. The highest-ranked product characteristics included plants free of insects and disease, properly dug and handled container or balled and burlapped stock, properly dug and handled bare root stock, and plants available when needed. However, several additional product characteristics received high rankings. The highest-ranked service was supplier knowledgeable about plant materials. A χ2 analysis was conducted to segment this market on the basis of firm size, business type, and geographic location. Results indicated there were limited between-group differences to use in segmenting the market on the basis of size, business type, or location.

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Proceedings of the Colloquium Marketing Horticultural Crops Globally

held at the 89th Annual Meeting Honolulu, Hawaii 4 August 1992

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Bridget K. Behe, Elizabeth H. Moore, Arthur Cameron, and Forrest S. Carter

The U.S. wholesale market for flowering potted plants, valued at $701 million in 2000, is growing much slower than the $2.1 billion bedding plant market, indicating the product life-cycle of the former may have matured. A mature product yields little profit. Customers who purchase flowering potted plants for indoor enjoyment may have expectations about them, including that plant life is finite and there is no opportunity for outdoor use. Because scientists have discovered how to force selected perennials to flower, marketers may reposition them as indoor flowering potted plants, creating a new product and potentially stimulating sales of this lagging floral category. One method for relating customer perceptions of new products to familiar ones is perceptual mapping, which shows how consumers implicitly categorize products. Defining how consumers perceive the relationships between the selected flowering plants enables marketers to select the best opportunities for product positioning, merchandising, and pricing. We surveyed 200 self-selected visitors at a Michigan flower show in Apr. 2000 to determine their uses for, preferences for, and perceptions of three traditional indoor flowering potted plants and six traditional outdoor perennials. Perceptions were recorded on a seven-point scale. Squared Euclidean distances were calculated to derive the map in which two major dimensions emerged: use (indoor/outdoor) and flower color. Campanula carpatica Jacq. `Blue Clips' and Oxalis crassipes Urb. were mapped centrally, indicating participants had no strong perceptions for how these plants should be used. This suggests that Campanula and Oxalis have the greatest potential to be positioned for dual indoor and outdoor enjoyment, which may also yield some enhanced profitability.

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David H. Byrne

Despite the hundreds of existing stone fruit (Prunus spp.) cultivars used for fresh market, there is a continuing need to develop new stone fruit cultivars as the requirements of the industry change. Over the last 20 years there has been a shift toward private breeding as the public sector decreases its support of these long-range programs. As a result there are fewer public breeding programs and many of those still operating protect their releases and partially fund their programs with royalty payments. Other trends that are shaping the development of new stone fruit cultivars are a need for smaller or more easily managed tree architecture, a trend toward the use of fewer agricultural chemicals, the expansion of production zones into the milder winter zones to allow year-round availability of stone fruit, a general diversification of fruit types being marketed, the increased awareness of the health benefits of fruit consumption, the need for better and more consistent quality, and given the global marketing of these fruit the increased need for enhanced postharvest qualities. The breeding programs of the world are responding to these trends and working toward developing the cultivars for the world markets of the future.