- Fruits: melons
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
- Production Systems: general crop production
The goals of our project will be to successfully grow out a marketable quantity of European melons and to develop an effective marketing plan to gain consumer acceptance. We feel that the taste and the quality of these melons when properly grown will gain favor and open up a specialty market that growers can exploit. Success in achieving our goals will give this crop a foothold in local markets and enable growers to add an additional income stream to their operations Our specific objectives are to: 1) Successfully grow out at least 3 varieties of European melons in quantities sufficient for market, 2) Ensure that the melon crop meets strict standards for taste, appearance & quality and 3)Develop a effective marketing plan to raise consumer awareness and demand for the crop. We will need to address the dual problems of disease susceptibility and inconsistent fruit quality. In order to address the disease issues, we plan to grow our melons under row covers until we need to have them pollinated. We also plan to treat our plants with an organic fungicide at regular intervals to reduce pest and disease damage. Getting a consistent set of high quality fruit will require us to pay special attention to the Brix content of our fruit and to use growing methods and fertilizers that will increase the Brix content.