UF/IFAS researchers offered updates on the challenges and potential for pomegranates as an alternative crop in The Sunshine State.

Florida citrus farmers are on the lookout for alternative crops in the face of the devastation caused by citrus greening. There has been a lot of buzz around pomegranates as an alternative crops, with UF/IFAS researchers studying the possibilities and the challenges presented by pomegranates. They information they shared was presented in a Vegetable and Specialty Crop New article. See the details below.

The Ins and Outs of Pomegranates as an Alternative Crop

According to researchers with the University of Florida, finding varieties of pomegranates as an alternative crop that will both grow well in Florida, meet consumer demands, and arrive at the right time in the market to be competitive. Consumers want fruit with red or dark red skins and inner fruit. Varieties Ariana, Girkanet and Vietnam were named as promising options for Florida.

Researchers are seeing issues with yield and quality. Ali Sarkhosh, a UF assistant professor, said “We need to do a little more research because the quality is one side; then the yield is another. We have some varieties that produce good quality, but the yield isn’t there. So, it’s hard to recommend a good variety for Florida.”

Lastly, Florida pomegranates would have to hit the market before California pomegranates, specifically harvesting from the end of July until California pomegranates come into stores around September.

“Hopefully we will continue our research to see how many pounds of fruit we can get from these varieties that seem promising, to see if it can be commercialized,” Sarkhosh said in the article.

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