The first southeast U.S. organic cucurbit variety trails and field day occurred this summer as part of theOrganic Cucurbit Research Project being led by Cornell University and supported by OSA, North Carolina State University, and Auburn University. Farmers participating in the project are building experience and knowledge in conducting their own variety trials and have established a network for ongoing collaboration. These momentous events represent the development of a strong southeastern organic seed system foundation.
The Organic Cucurbit Research Project includes organic melon, squash, and cucumber variety trials to support future breeding work by developing varieties resistance to Downy Mildew, Striped Cucumber Beetles, and viruses. This year OSA participated in trials on six farms throughout North Carolina and co-hosted a field day at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC to share initial results of the trials. The weather wasn’t too cooperative for a field day, but the trial could not have been planned better. The crops were at the ideal stage for trail evaluations and there were ripe melons for our taste test. This project is funded through a grant from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and will go through the next two years.