Color, flavor, nutrition, top strength, vigor, shape, and smoothness are all qualities under consideration as we select carrot roots this month to replant for breeding populations as part of the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project. OSA senior breeder, Dr. John Navazio, recently returned from evaluating a wide diversity of breeding populations from around the world grown this winter in the warmth of El Centro, CA. In 2013 we will continue to evaluate promising carrot populations on organic and conventional farms in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, and California with the goal of identifying traits important in organic farming systems. In 2013 six promising populations including orange, purple, and red materials will be grown on organic farms in Washington as part of the OSA participatory plant breeding program.
You can help! Farmer participation is critical to the success of CIOA. We depend on feedback from farmers to prioritize our breeding and variety trial objectives. If you are a farmer who grows carrots of any color, let us know which varieties you currently grow and which quality traits are important to you.
Email Cathleen McCluskey to weigh in on our organic carrot trials with the following information: varieties you use, qualities of highest importance, your location, and your primary market (i.e. wholesale, farmers markets, other).