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Tiffany L. Maughan, Kynda R. Curtis, Brent L. Black, and Daniel T. Drost

Strawberry production in the U.S. Intermountain West is limited by harsh climatic conditions and competition from domestic producers and imports. Using season extension methods to combat climatic conditions may be effective but generally increases production costs. This study evaluates the economic returns to implementing high tunnels, low tunnels, and in-ground supplemental heating to strawberry production (Seascape and Chandler cultivars) in northern Utah. The high tunnel provided a net return of $1,943.57 or $15,548.56 per hectare assuming eight high tunnels per hectare. The addition of low tunnels within the high tunnel led to a positive increase in net returns for ‘Seascape’ but not for ‘Chandler’ production. Supplemental in-ground heating increased net returns by up to 50% for both cultivars, primarily as a result of higher pre-season yield and market pricing. Study results find that season extension technologies can successfully increase net returns to strawberry production through early and increased yields, when strawberries are sold primarily through local direct markets.

Open access

Kynda R. Curtis, Tatiana Drugova, Trevor Knudsen, Jennifer Reeve, and Ruby Ward

This study examines consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for organic and eco-friendly peaches, Prunus persica L., over conventional peaches in Utah. Data were collected at farmers’ markets across Utah, including actual peach purchases coupled with an in-person survey and analyzed using logit models. The results show that farmers’ market shoppers are willing to pay a premium for organic and eco-friendly peaches of $2.10 and $1.41 per pound, respectively. The importance of selected sustainability attributes positively impacted shopper preferences for eco-friendly peaches, while attitudes and lifestyle were associated with stronger shopper preferences for organic peaches. The distinct differences between shoppers who prefer organic and those who prefer eco-friendly, as well as the disparity in premiums, imply that growers should strongly consider their markets and cost of production differences when choosing organic certification over other less expensive differentiation schemes.