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  • Author or Editor: Julia M. Harshman x
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Raspberries are a delicate, high-value crop with an extremely short shelf life exacerbated by postharvest decay caused by Botrytis cinerea Pers. European red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) is the most widely grown variety. Yellow (R. idaeus L.), black (R. occidentalis L.), and purple raspberries (R. ×neglectus Peck. or R. occidentalis ×idaeus hybrids) are available mainly at local markets and U-pick farms. To compare the postharvest quality of the raspberry color groups, pesticide-free fruit from cultivars and breeding selections of red, yellow, purple, and black raspberries were examined for oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), phenolics, anthocyanins, soluble solids, titratable acids, pH, color, firmness, decay and juice leakage rates, ethylene evolution, and respiration. There were significant correlations between decay rate and physiochemical properties. Both decay and leakage rates were correlated with weather conditions before harvest, but each color group responded differently to different weather factors. There were no correlations among changes in color, firmness, decay, or juice leakage rates. All the other color groups were less acidic than the familiar red raspberry. Yellow raspberries had the worst decay rates but the best leakage rates. Black and purple raspberries, with the highest phenolics and anthocyanins and the lowest ethylene evolution rates, resisted decay the longest but bled soonest.

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Production of european pears (Pyrus communis L.) in the eastern United States is limited by a number of physiological and pathological problems. In an attempt to expand sustainable pear production in that region, a series of long-term field trials of asian pear [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. F) Nak. (syn. Pyrus serotina L.)] were established at two sites in Maryland. To compare precocity, productivity, and survival, nine asian pear cultivars and three European cultivars were planted in a replicated trial in 2010 at the Wye Research and Education Center (Wye REC). The asian pears were precocious and productive and many trees flowered and fruited in the second leaf. After the fourth leaf, survival of ‘Isi’iwasi’, ‘Shinsui’, ‘Kosui’, and ‘Olympic’ was good, while many ‘Hosui’ and ‘Ya Li’ (asian pear) trees as well as ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Golden Russett’ (european pear) trees had died at that point, following bloom infections of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora). At Keedysville (WMREC), 18 asian pear cultivars in two established plantings were evaluated for their field tolerance to fire blight following a severe hailstorm. The cultivars Shin Li, Daisu Li, Shinsui, and Olympic fared as well as Magness, a fire blight–tolerant european pear cultivar that served as a benchmark in that evaluation. Conversely, ‘Hosui’, ‘Choju’, ‘Kosui’, ‘Seigyoku’, ‘Ya Li’, and ‘Ts’e Li’ were severely damaged. Three consumer tastings were conducted using fruit from the Wye REC trial. ‘Yoinashi’, ‘Atago’, ‘Shinko’, and ‘Olympic’ were well received by consumers. After tasting asian pears, most people, even those less familiar with the crop, reported they would consider purchasing the fruit and requested the names of local producers. Based on our long-term research results, there appears to be a good opportunity for locally produced asian pear fruit. With the correct cultivar selection for fire blight management, local growers should be able to produce this alternative crop sustainably and market their fruit profitably.

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