New Report Helps Organic Farmers Extend Their Vegetable Season

1st-page-wsda-vegetable-crops-for-season-extension-pnw-2014-6_with-borderOrganic Seed Alliance (OSA) released a report today that details variety trial results for storage cabbages, storage onions, overwintering chicories, and overwintering purple sprouting broccoli. The trials were grown in multiple locations on the Olympic Peninsula from 2014 through 2016, with the goal of identifying which of these crop varieties perform best in this Washington region. The trial evaluations focused on agronomic, storage, and culinary qualities.

Washington agriculture excels in producing high-value specialty crops, especially vegetables, during the prime growing seasons, but the organic produce industry remains dependent on imported crops during the winter and early spring months. Farmers are eager to expand their production of overwintering and storage crops to retain customers throughout the winter. Chefs, produce retailers and the general public increasingly demand locally grown vegetables with exceptional flavor and culinary qualities all year long. The off-season represents a significant market opportunity to expand regional production of key vegetable crops.

The four crops included in the project were identified as priorities through focus groups, farmer gatherings, and roundtable discussions that included diverse stakeholders – from farmers to processors to distributors.

The report released today includes data collected on nearly 90 varieties evaluated during two production cycles over a three-year period. The data and discussion focuses primarily on flavor, storability, winter hardiness and general product quality.

Vegetable Crops for Season Extension in the Pacific Northwest: 2014 – 2016 Trial Results is available for free download here.

This project is supported by the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

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