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Breakout Session B

Sustainable Innovations in the Prickly Pear Production System
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In the prickly pear production system, the glycoids of the fruit constitute an organic residue derived from cleaning the prickly pear prior to its commercialization. This residue is disposed of in plastic bags at the edge of plantations or in unregulated garbage dumps where it accumulates due to its high resistance to natural degradation and combustion, generating an environmental problem. In order to provide added value to this by-product, its use as a substrate improvement component for the production of mycelium and Pleurotus sp carpophores was valued at a commercial. For the first experiment, mycelium (F2) from INECOL’s (National Institute of Ecology) strain collection was sown in substrate mixtures made of sorghum grains (S) and ground (EM) or whole (EE) glochids in different proportions. The experimental units were incubated at 25°C for 11 days. The degree of invasion was evaluated based on growth type, texture, color, air mycelium and density, through hedonic scale by variable. For the second stage, mixtures of EE or EM with oat straw (RA) in different proportions were sown with mycelium from the first stage. Harvesting began 30 days after sowing when the lamella of the carpophores had thinned edges. The productive parameters were evaluated based on precocity (P), biological efficiency (%, EB), yield (%, R) and production rate (%, TP). The results showed that one of the added values that can be given to the tuna processing by-product is as a substrate enricher for mycelium production and commercial mushroom production. Glochids can be handled as ground or whole in their mixture with sorghum grains up to 30% (by weight) with benefits in reducing the number of days needed for quality colonization. Regarding commercial production, proportions of 40% as EM or EE generated yields greater than 10% and biological efficiencies greater than 100%, which represented a net annual gain of $9,490.75 with respect to traditional production management ($6,137.22).

María Edna Álvarez-Sánchez, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo
De Jesús Rivera Luisa, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo

Additional authors:
 Filemón Ramírez Pérez, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo
Víctor M Bandala Muñoz, INECOL
Ranferi Maldonado Torres, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo

Evaluating Commercial Specialty Mushroom Production for Diversified Farms and Small Woodland Owners in Western WA
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Forest-grown specialty mushroom production may be an economical, low-impact, ecologically-appropriate enterprise for diversified farms and small woodland owners in the western Pacific Northwest (PNW). These traditional Japanese cultivation systems use small-diameter hardwood trees as a substrate to produce mushrooms that are cultivated under existing forest canopy. These systems have a minimal carbon footprint, with a low timber requirement to produce a food product, no need for land clearing, low-input demands, and dovetail with forest management practices like thinning, which can improve forest carbon sequestration. To date, these systems have been adapted to the eastern and midwestern US, but not to the PNW. In 2019, WSU Extension received funding to examine how these systems can be adapted to the western PNW environment given its relatively mild winter temperatures, more limited choices of native hardwoods, and markedly drier, lower-humidity summers than the environments that they are currently adapted to. Using three research sites in two distinct regions of western WA, this study evaluated 1) multiple species of locally available hardwoods for their potential to sustain mushroom production, 2) management that mitigates the effects of sustained low-humidity summers, and 3) the commercial forest-grown mushroom production potential for the western PNW context. Data collected in the 2020 field season suggests substrate and mushroom varieties, along with moisture management techniques, may have significant influence on production potential in the PNW.

Justin O’Dea, WSU Extension
Patrick Shults, WSU Extension Additional authors
Stephen Bramwell, WSU Extension

Consumer Preferences for North American Pawpaws in Missouri
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The North American pawpaw (Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal) is a native specialty fruit crop that is highly valued for consumption in certain areas of the U.S. A survey was conducted in 2019 at four markets in Missouri to explore consumer preferences for pawpaws and its value added food products. At the farmers market, free fresh pawpaws and pawpaw muffins were provided. Totally, 367 responses were collected. Results suggest that more than half of the respondents had heard about pawpaws before taking the survey. One third of the respondents had eaten pawpaws before. After tasting fresh pawpaws and pawpaw muffins, more than 80% of our respondents indicated that they like eating fresh pawpaws, and 65% indicated they like eating pawpaw muffins. The choice experiment analysis results suggest that consumers prefer organically produced pawpaws and pesticide-free pawpaws to fruit produced using conventional methods. Labelling the organic and pesticide-free production processes can increase consumer demand for fresh pawpaws.

Zhen Cai, Research Professor, Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri

Additional authors:
Mike Gold, University of Missouri
Andy Thomas, University of Missouri
Patrick Byers, University of Missouri
Kelsi Stubblefield, University of Missouri

Developing Black Currants as a Crop in the Midwest
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Pioneering farmers in the Midwest that grow black currants consider them to be viable from an agronomic standpoint, citing the following attributes: extremely cold hardy, able to grow on a wide variety of soil types and a wide range of pH, less attractive to wildlife, yields up to 6,000 pounds per acre, can be machine harvested, and they hold on the bush to allow for flexible harvest dates. In addition to these agronomic values, black currants are one of the most nutritious fruits in the world, and the highly pigmented berries and juice align with modern consumer trends toward healthier eating. This is why black currants are grown in 21 countries around the world. New York is leading the way in developing Extension support for black currants. Under the guidance of researchers at Cornell University, farmers are expanding black currant plantings to capitalize on consumer interest and growing markets for black currant juice. Farms in New York report having their crop sold before they harvest. Twenty-five percent of the crop in New York goes to jam and jellies, and the remaining 75% is sold to wineries, cider makers, and juice companies. Similar efforts are now underway as the result of partnerships between the Savanna Institute and the University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois. This presentation will focus on our work trialing and evaluating new cultivars and laying the foundation for the development of a juice market in the Midwest.

Bill Davison, Program Manager – Tree Crop Commercialization, Savanna Institute


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