Fresh Market Variety Trials and Variety Recommendations
For many fresh market vegetable crops, a large number of varieties are available, but not all are suitable for production in Delaware. Growers need research-based information on yield, quality traits and disease resistance of varieties in order to choose varieties that are likely to perform well on their farms.
UD’s Extension Vegetable and Fruit Research Program conducts fresh market, vegetable variety trials each year. Variety trials took place on seedless watermelon, sweet corn, snap bean, onion, tomato, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, greens crops and specialty pepper. The program also trialed lettuce, specialty melons, cantaloupe, cabbage, slicing cucumber and cauliflower. Results are used to update the Mid-Atlantic Vegetable Production Recommendations, a regionally produced Extension publication. Reports are also distributed at grower meetings and via the program’s website.
We surveyed 37 fresh market vegetable growers who participated in March 2017 produce food safety workshops to determine how many were using the variety recommendations in the Mid-Atlantic Vegetable Production Recommendations or in the variety trial reports to choose which varieties to grow. Seventy-six percent reported using the variety recommendations sometimes (32%) or often (43%). Seventy percent reported using the variety trial reports sometimes (43%) or often (27%). When deciding on varieties to grow, Delaware vegetable growers use these trials and recommendations.