Navigation Links
Strawberry fields ripe for the picking
Date:12/6/2007

COLLEGE PARK, MD -- Many fruit farmers in the United States rely heavily on "pick-your-own" (PYO) operations to realize profits and create repeat business. Pick-your-own fruit farms are an important market segment, and consumer satisfaction with the experience is critical to farmers eager to increase seasonal revenues.

A team of researchers from the University of Maryland, Utah State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture compared three different strawberry production systems over a two-year period (2003-2004) to determine which system was preferred by consumers who frequented pick-your-own farms. Researchers also examined each production system to compare the quality of strawberries produced and attempted to determine how consumer preference affected the price customers would pay for fresh berries.

Matthew Stevens, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, undertook the research project as part of his Master's thesis. Stevens reported that consumers surveyed in the first year of his study preferred picking fruit from the cold-climate "plasticulture" system. Plasticulture strawberries are grown on raised beds using black plastic mulch and a trickle irrigation system. Farmers use plasticulture because it can extend the growing season and improve crop health and growth. Interestingly, Stevens' team found that consumers surveyed during the second year of the study preferred PYO strawberries grown in the "advanced matted row" system, which features raised beds covered with a cover crop mulch instead of plastic mulch and a subsurface drip irrigation system.

"This seems to suggest that the cold-climate plasticulture system, typically an annual production system, is not ideal for perennial production, but would be popular as an annual system.The conventional matted row system, most commonly used in colder production regions, was the least popular system in the first year and was ranked between the advanced matted row and cold-climate plasticulture system in the second year. Most consumers (63%) indicated they would be willing to pay more to pick fruit from their favorite system.", Stevens stated. "We also found that, among fruit quality characteristics tested, only firmness differed among the systems, with fruit from the cold-climate plasticulture being slightly softer than fruit from the other two systems."

According to Stevens, the research study will provide growers with a clear comparison of how different strawberry production systems affect customers' perceptions of pick-your-own experiences. "As growers consider shifting from the conventional matted row system to modern systems, this research will give them an idea of how customers may react to such a change. Growers can use this information, along with information on economics and environmental impacts of the systems, to make an informed decision on which system would be best to use on their farm.", he summarized.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. CU-Boulder team discovers first ancient manioc fields in Americas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Strawberry fields ripe for the picking
(Date:3/27/2017)... ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 ... by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) ... Analytics Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In ... top 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic ... recognized CHS for its high level of EMR ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... VILNIUS, Lithuania , March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... identification and object recognition technologies, today announced the ... development kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition ... safety cameras on a single computer. The new ... algorithms to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... Germany , March 16, 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity ... Continue Reading ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide ... Used ... Systems) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 23, 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface ... molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter infections to gum ... is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, there is currently a ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... , ... May 22, 2017 , ... Stratevi, a boutique ... to the East Coast. It has opened an office in downtown Boston at 745 ... finding it increasingly more important to generate evidence on the value they provide, not ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 19, ... ... at the annual meeting and educational conference of the American Association of Bioanalysts ... at the Galleria Hotel in Houston. The conference reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... The University ... researchers with technologies ripe for commercialization, and who are affiliated with the 21 ... to submit proposals. QED, now in its tenth round, is the first multi-institutional ...
Breaking Biology Technology: