UNH Hosts ‘Under the Vines’ Kiwiberry Field Day Sept. 26

Event Focuses on Research for Commercial Production

Monday, September 18, 2017
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Those interested in the commercial production of kiwiberries are invited to the 3rd annual Kiwiberry Field Day from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. The event will be held at the University of New Hampshire's kiwiberry research vineyard at the Woodman Horticultural Research Farm, a facility of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station. It is free and open to the public.

The annual Kiwiberry Field Day is an opportunity for current and future commercial producers, value-added processors, and nurseries to visit the vineyard, learn about the program's current research and breeding activities, and share their knowledge, questions, and perspectives. “It’s been a productive year, and we have a lot to share,” said plant breeder Iago Hale, assistant professor of specialty crop improvement and leader of the program.

This year's Field Day will feature various production-related demonstrations, including weed management with a tractor-mounted HYD-ROW-HOE, an improved approach to irrigation and frost protection, berry evaluation to determine harvest time, and pruning and vine management. Hale and graduate student Will Hastings also will share research reports on the effects of harvest time and storage on ripening and marketability, kiwiberry genetics and what producers need to know before buying vines, and relevant results from the IX International Kiwifruit Symposium.

In addition, the team will share important program updates, including the decision by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to uphold the rights of producers to grow and sell kiwiberries in the state, as well as the status of a production guide and enterprise analysis for the region. The event will conclude with kiwiberry tasting and time for discussion.

In 2013, Hale established a kiwiberry research and breeding program at the experiment station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. In the first research project of its kind, he aims to develop improved, economically viable kiwiberry varieties for small farms in the northeast.

With their general adaptation to the region, their attractive appearance, intense and complex flavor profiles, high levels of bioactive compounds, and easy consumability, kiwiberries have long been recognized for their potential as a high-value crop in New England. A tender, smooth-skinned relative of the fuzzy supermarket kiwi, grape-sized kiwiberries are tropical-tasting fruits that have grown in the backyards and private gardens of the region for 140 years. Despite this long history in the region, however, virtually no commercial production exists, something Hale is determined to change.

For more information on this research, visit http://www.unh.edu/halelab/kiwiberry.  The field day is free and open to the public; however, the focus is on research for commercial production.

This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 233561, and the state of New Hampshire.

Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission. We steward federal and state funding, including support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide unbiased and objective research concerning diverse aspects of sustainable agriculture and foods, aquaculture, forest management, and related wildlife, natural resources and rural community topics. We maintain the Woodman and Kingman agronomy and horticultural research farms, the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses, the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and the Organic Dairy Research Farm. Additional properties also provide forage, forests and woodlands in direct support to research, teaching, and outreach.

 

Lori Wright, NH Agricultural Experiment Station