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  • Author or Editor: Kathleen M. Kelley x
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The effect of kaolin (Surround™) on walnut quality parameters, including edible yield, reflected light index, insect damage, off grade, price per pound, and the incidence and severity of sunburn, were evaluated over a 4-year period in `Vina' and `Chandler' walnut orchards. Results indicate that applications of kaolin significantly improved edible yield, reflected light index, price per pound, and the incidence and severity of sunburn in most orchards in most years. Improvements in these parameters were more consistent with the `Vina' cultivar. Off-grade was not significantly reduced by the use of kaolin. Codling moth damage levels were too low to detect in all orchards in all years.

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Two separate consumer-marketing studies were conducted between 30 Oct. and 2 Dec. 2002 to determine consumer awareness and potential demand for edamame [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. The first study consisted of a sensory evaluation that included 113 participants who tasted and rated three edamame cultivars based on firmness and overall appeal and then ranked the beans in order of preference at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus. To estimate demand, the participants answered questions regarding their likelihood to purchase edamame after the sensory evaluation. The second study, a telephone survey, was administered by a marketing firm to determine consumer awareness of edamame as well as their produce purchasing habits. Responses were collected from 401 consumers within the Metro-Philadelphia area. Consumer reaction to the sensory evaluation was positive, and after reading about the health benefits, a majority of consumers (92%) indicated they would likely purchase edamame and serve it in a meal whereas 89% gave this response after only sampling the edamame beans. When responses were compared among cultivars, overall liking for `Green Legend' (6.29; 1 = extremely dislike; 9 = like extremely) was significantly lower than for `Kenko' (6.84); however, neither cultivar was significantly different from `Early Hakucho' (6.62). Participants also rated `Kenko' as having a firmness that was `just about right'. Verbal comments from participants leaving the evaluation site included interest in purchasing edamame and inquiries as to where it could be purchased in the vicinity of the university. Telephone survey participants also expressed a willingness to purchase edamame and serve it in a meal after hearing about the potential health benefits (66%). Based on consumer responses to selected telephone survey questions, three distinct marketing segments were created. Potential purchasers (58% of participants), consisted of consumers who were more likely to consider the importance of the nutritional content of vegetables they purchased (73%), included the greatest percent of consumers who had purchased soy or soy-based products (70%), and were very likely (51%) and somewhat likely (46%) to eat edamame after learning about the health benefits. The second largest segment of participants characterized as unlikely edamame eaters (22% of participants) consisted of individuals who were very likely (20%) and somewhat likely (43%) to purchase vegetables they had never eaten before if evidence suggested that it might decrease the risk of cancer and/or other diseases. However, within this group, none of the participants were either very likely or somewhat likely to eat edamame after being told about the health benefits. The last group, characterized as requires convincing (20% of participants), consisted of individuals who were the least likely to base produce-purchasing decisions on the nutritional content of vegetables. After learning about health benefits specific to edamame, 8% of these participants were very likely and 48% were somewhat likely to eat edamame. Hence, separate marketing strategies may need to be developed to target these distinct segments based on interest in eating edamame, importance of nutritional information, and current vegetable purchasing habits.

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Two separate surveys were administered (17–19 Nov. 2008 and 7–10 Apr. 2009) to consumers residing in five metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States (1710 for Survey 1 and 1518 for Survey 2) to investigate and compare consumer stated preferences toward locally grown and certified organic produce. In Survey 1, participants were asked to indicate whether they agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. In addition, they were asked to report whether locally grown and certified organic were factors in their produce purchasing decision. Compared with their counterparts (each demographic examined independently), White/Anglos, Asian Americans, and those aged 25 years and older agreed that purchasing locally grown produce was more important than purchasing organically grown produce. A greater percentage of participants aged 37 years and older (average of 65%) and 66% of White/Anglo participants selected “produce was grown in my local area.” In addition, a greater percentage of participants aged between 21 and 64 years (average of 32%) and 48% of Asian Americans selected “produce was grown using ‘certified’ organic methods,” compared with their counterparts. In Survey 2, participants were presented with six pairwise comparisons and asked to indicate their stated preference between each of the two options, which included combinations of “locally grown,” “not locally grown,” “certified organic,” and “not certified organic.” Stated preference for locally grown produce was highest among the following participant groups (each group examined independently): those aged 37 years and older, White/Anglo participants, those without children living in their household, females, and participants with income levels $25,000 and greater. In addition, stated preference for certified organic was highest among the following groups (again, each group examined independently): those aged between 21 and 36 years; Black/African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans; those with children living in their household; females; and participants with income levels of $25,000 and greater. Produce industry members in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region (e.g., farmers, distributors, retail store owners, restauranteurs, agricultural extension personnel) can incorporate this research into marketing plans, purchasing decisions, or educational or applied research programs as appropriate.

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The Associated Landscape Contractors of America reported in 2004 that the lawn and landscape industry experienced considerable growth during the last 10 years: an increase of 31% from 2002 to 2003, and 126% from 1998 to 2003. An understanding by landscaping professionals of what factors influence consumers' evaluation and selection process when purchasing landscaping services is instrumental in formulating business and marketing plans that will more effectively target new customers, increase the customer base, and ultimately increase profits. To determine these factors, a questionnaire was developed and mailed to 5000 randomly selected households in the metro-Philadelphia area. Recipients were asked to consider factors deemed relevant to the selection and purchase of a landscaping service provider and rank them in order of importance. Questions pertaining to both the landscape industry, such as types of services purchased or how much was spent on these services, and the participants' demographic status were included. A total of 504 completed surveys were received, representing a 10% response rate. Results indicated that the “quality of work” factor was most important, followed by “cost,” and “types of services offered” when analyzed by both the frequency as well as by an average mean ranking of factors. Further analysis of results showed little or no influence on the ordering of factors by independent variables, such as types of service purchased, how much was spent on the service(s), household income, or education levels of the participants.

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Two studies were conducted to determine consumer interest in fresh, in-shell edamame [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] and acceptance of two edamame-based patties. An in-store consumer research study was conducted in metropolitan Philadelphia to determine consumer demand for and interest in fresh, in-shell edamame. In fall 2004, plastic clamshells of edamame were placed in the produce department of four supermarkets. Consumers who purchased the clamshells were asked to return a survey that was attached to the container. Of the 480 clamshells that were delivered to the four selected supermarkets, 312 (65.0%) were purchased and 33 (10.6%) of the surveys were returned. All respondents indicated that they had heard of or were familiar with edamame before purchasing the container, and 81.2% had previously purchased edamame. Results indicate that 51.6% of respondents were more likely to purchase the edamame because it was grown in Pennsylvania, and 84.4% were more likely to purchase it because it was grown without the use of pesticides. In addition, a friend's recommendation, price, and sample of the product at the supermarket were rated highest among factors likely to affect respondents' purchasing decisions regarding new produce items. Based on the total number of packages sold and conversations with produce department managers, there appears to be a demand for fresh, in-shell edamame among supermarket consumers in metropolitan Philadelphia. A second study involving a consumer sensory evaluation was conducted in Feb. 2005 to determine consumer acceptance of two edamame-based patties. A total of 209 adults were involved, with 106 participants sampling the edamame-based patties on the first day and 103 sampling on the second day. Participants were asked to rate the patty they sampled on overall appeal, appearance, and flavor on a scale of 1 to 9 points (1 point being “dislike extremely” and 9 points being “like extremely”). Overall mean liking for the two patties was 6.38 points and 6.58 points, and mean liking for flavor was 6.44 points and 6.83 points on days 1 and 2 respectively. Based on the sample evaluated, 43.4% and 35.9% of participants, each day, indicated that they “probably would buy” or “definitely would buy” this item from a supermarket. Results suggest that consumers found the two edamame-based patties acceptable, indicating the potential for commercial production. Across the two studies, consumers expressed interest in purchasing fresh, in-shell edamame and edamame-based patties from a supermarket.

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Four-inch (10.2-cm) potted floweringCampanula carpatica Jacq. 'Blue Clips' (campanula) traditional herbaceous perennials, were sold in floral departments of three retail supermarket chain stores from 5 May through 20 May and 16 June through 1 July 2000. The intent was to determine whether repositioning campanula as a “new” indoor flowering potted plant would add to total floral department sales or detract from sales of more traditional flowering potted plants. Unit sales for all 4- and 4.5-inch (10.2- and 11.3-cm) flowering potted plants stocked in three supermarket floral departments were recorded weekly and compared with unit sales from three stores where campanula were not sold (control). Unit sales for campanula were similar to those of traditional indoor flowering potted plants frequently stocked in floral departments. Statistical analysis showed that mean unit sales of traditional potted flowering plants for stores that did and did not stock campanula were similar. Therefore, adding campanula to the flowering potted plant mix did not detract from or jeopardize sales of similar indoor flowering potted plants.

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The loss of container-grown nursery stock during winter months may be due to lack of root hardiness when exposed to cold temperatures. After Euonymus alatus `Compactus', Weigela florida `Java Red', and Hibiscus syriacus `Paeonyflora' reached midwinter hardiness, replicates of each cultivar were subjected to 12 hours of 21°C followed by 12 hours of 0°C each 24-hour period for up to 16 days. Controlled temperature freezing was conducted after each 48-hour period, with temperatures ranging from –6 to –27°C to determine the level of root hardiness. Plants were placed in a greenhouse environment to observe post-stress performance. Weigela was the most cold hardy, followed by Euonymus and Hibiscus. In general, the early accumulation of warming temperatures decreased root hardiness and delayed budbreak, with a noticeable loss of vigor. Results of this research will be presented.

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A mail survey was conducted in 2000 to determine awareness and use of integrated pest management (IPM) practices by nurseries in Pennsylvania. Survey participants were randomly selected from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, list of certified nurseries. Participants answered questions pertaining to awareness of common practices, frequency that IPM practices were employed, and specifics on monitoring and pest management decision-making processes. Responses were analyzed by Cluster Analysis (SPSS Inc., Chicago), which resulted in the formation of three distinct segments. The segments were labeled “IPM Savvy” (nursery managers who were more likely to employ IPM practices); “Part-time IPMers” (nursery managers who employed some IPM strategies and were interested in future adoption of IPM practices); and “Reluctant IPMers” (nursery managers who were least likely to employ IPM strategies). The “Part-time IPMers” and “Reluctant IPMers” segments represent a substantial part of the industry (51%), who continues to have concerns about the cost, efficacy, and implementation of IPM practices into their businesses. Overall, Pennsylvania growers are aware of IPM practices; however, maintaining permanent records of pests identified and pest management strategies employed remain low. Continued education is warranted to enhance pest monitoring skills and recordkeeping along with demonstrable evidence to the cost effectiveness and marketing benefits that the implementation of IPM practices offer the nursery operators.

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