- Fruits: grapes
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: marketing management, feasibility study, market study
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
Farmers and growers that sell agricultural crops directly to consumers are looking for new crops to expand their marketing opportunities. At Lastowka’s Maple Gate Farm, we are expanding our farm production to include small fruit crops in the past five years. Along with our small Pick-You-Own Blueberry operation, the Town of Merrimack with the town’s Agricultural Commission started a weekly farmers market. I contacted the local county – University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension office to review what crops we could grow to expand our marketing opportunities at the farmers market. Reviewing the commodities that were sold at the Merrimack farmers market and crops that we could grow, table grapes seem to be a good match. We have grown grapes for our own personal use for over twenty years. We discussed table grape production with George Hamilton, Agricultural Resources Extension Educator for UNH Cooperative Extension in Hillsborough County, who informed us that there is little information on seedless table grapes growing conditions found in southern New Hampshire. Grape production in New Hampshire has been focused on wine grapes by farmers raising grapes. We are going to construct the trellis for training the grape vines in the Vertical Shoot Positioned (VSP) system. There is very little information available on raising seedless table grapes in the New England area.
Project objectives from proposal:
Each year, we will record: winter die-back for each variety and bud survival of the winter; date of bud break (first growth) will be recorded along with the dates of six inches and twelve inches of growth; date and pounds of fruit harvested, and soluble solids (sugar brix); weekly high and low temperatures for the winter months.
Will the customer purchase the grape varieties at the farmers market (at profitable price for the grower) is the real data I want to see! Secondly, which seedless table grape varieties can withstand our winter conditions and are adaptable the VPS system?