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  • Author or Editor: Claire Kozower x
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Latinos are 6% of the population of Massachusetts and are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority in this state. Due to the increase in Latinos and other ethnic groups, farmers in Massachusetts are diversifying their crops to meet the demands of these new markets. Cilantro is a popular herb in Latino cuisine; however, many farmers in Massachusetts are not familiar with production and postharvest practices for this plant. A factorial experiment was initiated on a commercial farm in eastern Massachusetts to ascertain more information about short-term postharvest treatments. This experiment was performed on three dates in the fall of 1999, which served as replications. There were three main effects: cilantro harvested the same day and stored in the sun, cilantro harvested the same day and stored in the shade, and cilantro harvested on previous day and stored in the shade. For each main effect there were six sub-effects for cilantro storage: roots intact, roots removed, roots intact and plants in sealed plastic bag, roots removed and plants in sealed plastic bag, roots intact and plants in water, roots removed and plants in water. Cilantro bunches were given a visual quality number every hour from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm on each date. No difference in visual quality was observed between cilantro with roots intact compared to cilantro with roots removed. Cilantro stored in the direct sun had a lower visual quality index than cilantro stored in the shade. Cilantro stored in water or in a sealed plastic bag and kept in the shade showed little decrease in visual quality after 7 hours on the day of harvest. The results of these experiments will help farmers in Massachusetts to produce and market cilantro to meet the growing demands for this product.

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