Writer: Jane Moorman, (505) 249-0527, email@example.com
LOS LUNAS, N.M. - The late frosts of this spring prevented almost all traditional fruit trees, such as apricots, apples, peach and cherries, from bearing fruit this year. Not so for the jujube trees. They are loaded with fruit and are ready for harvest, and tasting.
"Orchards in New Mexico are impacted by the late frosts we experience frequently in the spring," said Shengrui Yao, New Mexico State University Extension fruit specialist. "Jujube trees produce fruit every year because they leaf out and bloom later than other fruit trees."
NMSU is studying jujube trees, also known as Chinese dates, as a potential fruit crop for New Mexico because of their flowering and fruiting habits, and that they adapt well to the soil and weather conditions of New Mexico.
"It is not a well known fruit to most New Mexicans, but there are existing trees that grow and produce well from Las Cruces and Silver City, to Albuquerque, and all the way to the Espanola and Alcalde area," Yao said.
Jujube fruit is very nutritious with vitamin C content four to 10 times higher than oranges, plus it has antioxidants, fiber and mineral nutrients.
"Jujubes are natural vitamin C pills, a few fruits will meet your daily vitamin C requirement," Yao said. "With its wide adaption, nutritious fruit and reliable crop, jujubes are a perfect choice for home gardeners and commercial fruit growers."
Yao is studying various cultivars of the jujubes at the NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas, as well as the university's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde. The trees are full of fruit ready for Yao's annual tasting workshop.
To accommodate those interested in jujube in central New Mexico, Yao will host this year's jujube fruit tasting workshop at the Los Lunas science center, 1036 Miller Road, from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.
"We will have a presentation about jujube flowering and fruiting habits, followed with a fruit tasting session, which will give growers an opportunity to try 20 to 25 jujube cultivars and pick their favorite ones," Yao said. "At the end of the workshop, there will be a brief field tour to see the jujube tree orchard."
If attendees have jujube trees in their yards, they are welcome to share their fruit at this tasting workshop.
This free event will be limited to 50 attendees. Please call Debbie at 505-865-4684 to register or register online at http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/jujube2013
This program is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant through the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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