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Robin G. Brumfield, Adesoji O. Adelaja and Kimberly Lininger

Face-to-face interviews of produce customers at Kings Super Markets in New Jersey yielded data on consumers' tastes and preferences, quantities purchased, and prices paid for fresh tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Purchase behavior indicated that during the local season, consumers preferred tomatoes grown in New Jersey to tomatoes from other origins. Data were fitted to demand equations to determine the factors affecting demand for fresh tomatoes. Tomato origin significantly influenced consumer purchases. Consumer perceptions of product characteristics such as color, freshness nutrition, and appearance do not appear to significantly influence tomato purchase patterns. However, prices of the) tomatoes or substitutes and income were important determinants of quantity purchased of both New Jersey grown and other tomatoes. New Jersey grown tomatoes were generally perceived to be of superior quality.

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Gene E. Lester and Michael A. Grusak

Commercially grown honeydew fruit (Cucumis melo Inodorus group) and netted cantaloupe fruit (C. melo Reticulatus group) in low-humidity regions of the U.S. are typically field packed, eliminating the possibility for postharvest chelated-calcium dip treatments to extend fruit shelf life. In this study, calcium treatments were applied to orange-flesh honeydew fruit commercially grown in 2001 and 2002 in Sacramento Valley, Calif. and orange-fleshed netted cantaloupe fruit commercially grown in 2002 in Imperial Valley, Calif., and Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Aminoacid-chelated calcium and mannitol-complexed calcium compounds were applied to field-grown plants at the rate of 2.3 L·ha-1 (1 qt/acre) at 0, 1, 2, or 4 total applications during growth of honeydew and cantaloupe fruit. Applications were A) at female flowering, B) within 15 days (cantaloupe) or 20 days (honeydew) after flowering, C) within 30 days (cantaloupe) or 40 days (honeydew) after female flowering, and/or D) within 3 to 5 days before abscission. One application equaled (A) or (D), two applications equaled (A + B) or (C + D) and four applications equaled (A + B + C + D). Evaluations of fully abscised fruit were exterior and interior firmness, marketability, calcium concentrations, interior soluble solids concentration (sugars), and consumer preference (taste) following harvest and up to 3 weeks commercial/retail storage. Cantaloupe fruit at both locations did not appear to benefit from preharvest plant applications of calcium when compared to fruit from plants treated with water. Honeydew fruit, however, did and the benefit was observed both years. Honeydew fruit that received four preharvest plant applications of calcium, regardless of source, were generally superior in firmness, marketability, and had a higher calcium concentration than fruit from plants receiving water or one or two applications of calcium. Fruit sugars and taste were not affected by preharvest plant applications of calcium.

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Paul B. Francis and C. Robert Stark, Jr.

appeal was the same for both systems ( Zhao et al., 2007 ). Consumer taste preferences for heirloom tomatoes may be greater than conventional cultivars. In a sensory evaluation of four unlabeled heirloom tomatoes and a popular commercial fresh