Pigeon pea is an important food crop for the Puerto Rican diet, as well as the economy. Pigeon pea ranks fourth in production among edible legumes in production worldwide. It can be consumed dried or as a vegetable (fresh, frozen, or canned). Canned, frozen, and dried peas are commonly used when fresh peas are no longer available. Due to the preferred flavor of fresh pigeon pea, it commands a higher market premium, selling for more than twice the price of the dried product. Although there is a great demand for this vegetable in Puerto Rico, virtually no research has been done on fresh pigeon pea postharvest physiology and its overall keeping quality. Baseline data on pigeon pea physiology, including respiration and ethylene production rates, soluble solids, titratable acidity, color reflectance, chlorophyll content, and responses to ethylene are presented here in order to establish the optimum storage temperature. Using this information, fresh pigeon pea consumption could increase locally, and exporting opportunities for shipping pigeon pea to alternative markets could be expanded.
High tunnels are becoming an increasingly important production tool for vegetable, small fruit, and cut flower growers in many parts of the United States. They provide a protected environment relative to the open field, allowing for earlier or later production of many crops, and they typically improve yield and quality as well as disease and pest management. Producers, ranging from small-scale market gardens to larger scale farms, are using high tunnels of various forms to produce for early markets, schedule production through extended seasons, grow specialty crops that require some environmental modification, and capture premium prices. The rapid ongoing adoption of high tunnels has resulted in numerous grower innovations and increased university research and extension programming to serve grower needs. An informal survey of extension specialists was conducted in 2007 to estimate numbers (area) of high tunnels and crops being grown in them by state, and to identify current research and extension efforts. Results of this survey provide an indication of the increasing importance of these structures for horticultural crop production across the country.
We conducted trials of vine-ripened, staked tomato cultivars in 1998 and 1999 to identify a variety suitable for marketing as a premium “Kentucky Tomato.” Essential qualities of our ideal Kentucky tomato were determined in conversations with marketing specialists at the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture and merchandising managers from the state's largest supermarket chain. A carefully selected group of 14 varieties (including 10 from the 1998 trial) was evaluated at two locations for yields, returns per acre, appearance, and quality in 1999. New varieties were compared with commercial standards `Mountain Spring' and `Mountain Fresh'. Yields of different sizes and grades of marketable fruit were multiplied by appropriate market prices for a given harvest date and summarized in a single “income per acre” variable for each variety. Although many varieties were in the highest 1999 income group (`Fabulous', `Mountain Spring', `Emperador', `Florida 47', `Sunleaper', `Floralina', `Mountain Fresh', `SunGem', NC 98274, `Enterprise'), not all were acceptable in terms of fruit quality and firmness. `Fabulous' and `Emperador' had higher percentages of fruits with radial cracks at one location in 1999 than in 1998. Consumer taste tests were conducted in 1998 and `Mountain Fresh' and `Floralina' were considered the best tasting among the six varieties tested. `Sunleaper', `Floralina', `SunGem', NC 98274, and `Fabulous' (for local markets) together with `Mountain Fresh' were considered prime `Kentucky Tomato' candidates and were recommended for further testing in farmers' fields in 2000.
A high quality finished plant from each of 22 cultivars was displayed at a poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch] open house at Tennessee State University in Dec. 2004. The cultivars represented the range of flower colors, flower traits, and plant vigor available through the major suppliers Dummen USA, Ecke, Fischer, and Oglevee. Attendees of the open house completed a written survey (n = 101) in which they were asked to rate their cultivar preferences. Cultivars (identified only by an alphabetic letter) were rated by respondents on a Likert-type scale (1 = strongly dislike to 5 = strongly like). Highly rated cultivars (mean ≥4) included `Freedom Red', `Premium Red', `Nutcracker White', `Early Orion', `Cortez Electric Fire', and the new cultivars `Visions of Grandeur' and `Kris Krinkle'. Cultivars were also rated on the price range potential consumers were willing to pay. Respondents were willing to pay the most to purchase `Visions of Grandeur', which is a vigorous cultivar with large, pillowy, peach-colored bracts. Overall, traditional red cultivars and large, non-red cultivars were preferred. Most of the respondents indicated that they purchased red plants, and color was the most important selection criterion. Results suggest that although most consumers prefer traditional red cultivars, women prefer some alternative inflorescence colors and unique bract shapes more than men.
Production costs have been analyzed in several studies using such normative approaches as budgeting and mathematical programming, and positive approaches as estimation of production, cost, or profit functions. This study used budgeting methods to analyze the costs and benefits of adopting integrated crop management (ICM) or organic methods versus conventional agriculture for tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. saccharada), and pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo L.). Data were collected using field studies conducted at the Rutgers University Snyder Research and Extension Farm, Pittstown, N.J. Time and motion study techniques were used to record machinery use and labor quantities. Records of production inputs and yields were also collected. These records were then converted to a 1.0-acre (0.4-ha) basis to constructed crop budgets. Results show that ICM systems are more profitable than conventional and organic systems. Organic systems had the lowest net returns. However, because of the organic price premium, the net returns were fairly close to those for conventional and ICM systems.
The flavor attributes of cacao (Theobroma cacao) is becoming an important consideration in trade specifically for fine or flavor cocoa. In this market segment, flavor along with other physical attributes, not only contributes to the quality of a cocoa lot but also the price premium obtained. Past studies have shown evidence of pollen parent effects on yield, bean size, and pod characteristics, but its effect on flavor attributes is not clearly understood. An incomplete diallel mating design involving five cacao cultivars [West African Amelonado (WAA), Imperial College Selection (ICS) 1, Iquitos Mixed Calabacillo (IMC) 67, and two Trinidad Selected Hybrids (TSH) coded as CCL 200 and CCL 201] with widely differing flavor attributes were used to investigate the magnitude of female and male parent effects on key intrinsic flavor attributes. The seeds derived from pods arising from these pollinations were fermented, dried, and made into cocoa liquor according to standardized methods. Flavor evaluations were carried out by a trained sensory panel for nine flavor attributes with five repetitions and hidden flavor reference controls. The study was conducted over two cocoa crop years. The results failed to detect dominant xenia effects for important ancillary flavor attributes (i.e., cocoa flavor, acidity, fruitiness, and floral flavors), but showed significant female parent effects for cocoa and floral flavors. Small but inconsistent male parent effects were seen for astringency. Lack of xenia effect for the major flavor attributes implies that the flavor quality of cocoa beans is determined principally by the genotype of the female parent.
White-fleshed peaches and nectarines are delicacies that have been enjoyed for centuries around the world. They are native to China and were introduced to the United States in the 1800s. Some white-fleshed peaches and nectarines are highly perishable and bruise easily, but are of very high eating quality. These are perhaps best suited for the local roadside market, where they can be sold and consumed more quickly. Others are much firmer at harvest, have a longer shelf life. and are suitable for long-distance transport to wholesale markets. White-fleshed peaches and nectarines may have some acidity or they may be very low acid with high sugar content (°Brix). Some novel flat (peento or donut) types also exist. Proximity to an urban market with a substantial Asian population is advantageous because Asians, in particular, often prefer the low-acid flavor and are willing to pay premium prices for high quality fruits. In our peach and nectarine cultivar evaluation program at Clemson University, we are currently evaluating 70 cultivars and advanced selections at four different locations in South Carolina. Several of these have been evaluated since 2000 and the “top performers” over the last six seasons by ripening date (earliest to latest) include the following: `Sugar May', `Scarletpearl', `Snowbrite', `Southernpearl', `White Lady', `Sugar Lady', `Summer Sweet', `Sugar Giant', `Stark's Summer Pearl', `Snow King', and `Snow Giant'. In general, most of the white nectarines and the flat/donut peaches and nectarines have serious problems with insect damage and brown rot. Complete details of our peach and nectarine (yellow- and white-flesh) evaluation work in South Carolina since 2000 will be noted by referring to my peach website (http://www.clemson.edu/hort/Peach/index.php).
–2005 was US$742 million. However, conventional citrus growers are facing increased international competition, relatively low citrus prices, new virulent diseases, competition with residential development for land and water resources, and more stringent
Carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.) is native to the humid tropics of southeastern Asia, where it bears fruit year-round. In south Florida, winter conditions (strong winds and night temperatures below 15 °C) repress growth and flowering of the main commercial cultivar, Arkin, and fruit is produced from July to February. Off-season fruit would reach premium prices. We have previously demonstrated that selective pruning stimulates flowering of carambola at any time of the year. However, flowers produced during cool, windy weather have consistently failed to set fruit. This study was conducted in 1994–1995 to determine whether protected cultivation would help obtain off-season fruit. Four-year-old `Arkin' trees growing in 80-L containers were placed in a glasshouse or outdoors and pruned in November or December to force flowering during December–January. Glasshouse night temperatures during the winter were above 20 °C. All trees flowered in response to pruning. Outdoor trees produced less than one fruit per tree in late March to late April. Glasshouse trees produced 2.3 to 6.1 fruit per tree, 2 to 3 weeks earlier than trees outdoors. In the glasshouse, more than 98% of fruit were seedless, whereas all fruit produced outdoors were seeded. Production of seedless fruit indoors was achieved in the absence of insect pollinators, and yields were low compared to those of outdoor trees during the summer (at least 25 fruit per tree). We speculate that, under protected cultivation, the use of synthetic bioregulators during anthesis and insect pollinators may help increase production of off-season seedless and seeded fruit, respectively.
‘Shiranui’ is a mandarin (Citrus reticulata var. austera) that is highly treasured for its unique and delicious flavor, and obtains premium prices in the marketplace. Although flavorful, ‘Shiranui’ tends to develop off-flavor during storage. In this study we examined the use of different storage wax (SW) and pack wax (PW) combinations to determine whether flavor in ‘Shiranui’ can be improved after storage by adjusting wax coating protocols. In the initial test, either SW or no wax was applied after harvest, and each was followed by an application of SW or one of two types of PW after 1 day, 3 weeks, or 7 weeks of storage and then held 1 week at either 7 or 20 °C. Results indicate that the initial wax was not an important factor but the use of SW instead of either type of PW as the final coating led to greater internal oxygen levels in the fruit and less off-flavor formation. The lessening of off-flavor by SW was significant only after 20 °C of storage, when off-flavor was greatest. Greater weight loss accompanied the use of SW as the final coating. In a second test, SW with greater solids concentrations (5%, 10%, and 15%) were evaluated to attempt to reduce weight loss, but this led to greater development of off-flavor and loss in acceptability than observed when using SW with 1% solids in test 1. ‘Shiranui’ is prone to developing off-flavor in storage, but this may be mitigated, at least in part, by using SW as the final wax rather than PW.