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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU hosts jujube workshop at Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde

ALCALDE, N.M. - Although many Americans may be unfamiliar with the jujube, this fruit-bearing tree of Chinese origin is gaining a following in New Mexico, as more people explore raising alternative crops.

To answer the many questions about jujubes being received by Shengrui Yao, New Mexico State University Extension fruit specialist, a free workshop on the care of the plant will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, April 15, at the NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center in Alcalde.

"I have gotten numerous calls and e-mails about all aspects of jujubes, including which cultivars should be planted, where to buy the plants, how to prune them and how to prepare the fruit for eating," Yao said. The fruit, commonly called Chinese date, has been cultivated in Yao's native country for more than 4,000 years.

"During the workshop, I will talk about the special growing habits of jujubes and the special care they need," she said. "After the presentation, we will have a pruning demonstration in the field."

The growing conditions throughout New Mexico have proven to be good for the trees. Jujubes are being raised from Alcalde in the northern part of the state to Cliff and Las Cruces in the south.

"Jujube's late blooming and good adaption to high pH soil makes the plant a good alternative crop for fruit growers whose orchards suffer from late frosts every year," Yao said. "Since our first pruning workshop last March and the fruit-tasting workshop in September, more and more growers are interested in this specialty crop. They want to plant it and know more about it."

The Alcalde science center is located north of Espanola on NM Highway 68 at 371 Rio Arriba County Road 40, Alcalde. For more information about the workshop, call Yao at 505-852-4241.