Writer: Jane Moorman, (505) 249-0527, firstname.lastname@example.org
ALCALDE, N.M. - Interest in raising jujube as an alternative fruit crop continues to grow among New Mexicans because of its ability to adapt well to a wide range of soil pH levels and weather conditions and its crop reliability.
To help home gardeners and potential commercial growers better understand this fruit-bearing tree of Chinese origin, New Mexico State University Extension fruit specialist Shengrui Yao will host a workshop on the growing habits of the tree, followed by a pruning demonstration, on Friday, April 13, from 2-4 p.m. at NMSU's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde.
The free workshop is limited to 30 attendees. To register, contact Augusta Archuleta at 505-852-4241.
"Because of the previous tasting workshops, the presentation at the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference, and media coverage, more and more New Mexicans have learned about this unique fruit and want to plant it in their yards," Yao said. "Jujubes, also known as Chinese dates, have special growing and fruiting habits, compared to other fruit tree species, that require an understanding by the grower."
While jujubes are a novelty fruit to most New Mexicans, there are scattered plantings of the trees around New Mexico as far south as Las Cruces and as far north as Alcalde that are growing and producing well.
"Our sunny and semi-arid weather make the jujube fruit quality excellent," Yao said. "Jujube fruit is very nutritious with a vitamin C content of 200 to 500 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit weight, which is roughly 100 times higher than the apple or peach."
Jujube trees leaf out and bud out four-to-six weeks later than most fruit tree species, which allows them to avoid damage from the late frosts.
"With its late season start-up, wide adaptation, nutritional facts and mild flavor, jujubes are a perfect alternative fruit in New Mexico," Yao said.
For additional information about the workshop, contact Yao at 505-852-4241.
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