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Christine Coker, Mike Ely and Thomas Freeman

Ethnicity plays a strong role in niche market development, and the Asian market is currently underserved. As Asian populations continue to grow in Mississippi, especially along the Gulf Coast, it is important to recognize new market opportunities. The fruit and vegetables desired by the diverse Asian population are often unavailable or of poor quality as a result of extensive shipping distances. Mississippi growers can meet this need for fresh Oriental produce at a higher price than traditional vegetables. Yardlong bean or asparagus bean (Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedalis) is the same species as cowpea. The cultural practices for yardlong bean are similar to that of traditional pole beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). However, there is still much to be learned about this crop in terms of pest management, disease susceptibility, and varietal superiority. The objectives of this research were to compare length and yield of eight yardlong bean varieties and collect observational data regarding production practices. Four replications of eight yardlong bean varieties were grown at Beaumont, MS, during Summer 2001 and 2002. Beans were grown on 4-ft-wide trellises 1 ft above the soil line. Beans were harvested twice per week. Highest marketable yields were attained with the varieties Red Seed and Black Seed, which are best suited for growing conditions in southern Mississippi. However, mosaic viruses may pose a potential production problem, and further research is warranted to determine best cultural practices and pest management.