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New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host workshop, fruit tasting of Chinese dates at Alcalde

ALCALDE – There’s another bumper crop of Chinese dates on the jujube trees at New Mexico State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde. The trees haven’t missed a crop yet.

People standing around a table with plates of food.
Participants of a tasting workshop enjoy the unique taste and texture of the Chinese date fruit of the jujube tree. A jujube tasting will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at NMSU's Sustainable Agriculture Center at Alcalde. (Photo by Jane Moorman)

With the jujube harvest getting close, NMSU fruit specialist Shengrui Yao will host a free field tour and fruit-tasting session during a workshop on jujube flowering and fruiting from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at the Alcalde farm.

The workshop is limited to 30 participants. To register, call Augusta or Anna at 505-852-4241 or register online at rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/jubube-sept2015.

“We will have a presentation about jujube flowering and fruiting habits, followed by a tasting session and a field tour,” Yao said.

Yao is conducting cultivar trials at both Alcalde and NMSU’s Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. The jujube tree, which has grown in Yao’s native country of China for more than 4,000 years, is proving to be a successful crop for New Mexico.

“With its late bloom and its wide adaption to soil and weather conditions, jujube is a reliable crop every year,” she said. “The highly nutritious fruit would be a great fruit tree crop for commercial growers and home gardeners in New Mexico.”

Since Yao joined NMSU in 2010, the jujube trees have not missed a crop. “This year, there is another heavy crop of fruit at the Alcalde orchard,” she added.

“Some of the cultivars are very impressive,” Yao said. “Hopefully, a couple years from now, we will have more cultivar recommendations for growers.”

The jujube research project is funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant through New Mexico Department of Agriculture.