Let’s Grow Broccoli in WNC! Project Update

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field of broccoli with NC Extension logo on top

7/30/2020 – Written by Margaret Bloomquist, Research Associate

Next year marks the 10th growing season of the Eastern Broccoli Project! This season we are conducting western North Carolina yield and quality research trials. We invite you to follow the project via our program’s website and the Cornell project website. Western North Carolina and SW Virginia are unique areas posed to fill the June/July production gap for an East Coast Broccoli industry.

woman planting broccoli transplant in field

Research associate transplanting 23 varieties into summer planting at Mountain Research Station, 2020.

woman holding broccoli in the air and standing in front of a pile of broccoli heads

A research assistant recording yield data in the on-farm yield trial at Irma’s Produce, NC, July 2020.

Thank you to our past and current on-farm research collaborators! Through the years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many wonderful broccoli growers across the region. Check out some pictures captured from our on-farm research over the years:

2019 on-farm broccoli yield trials

Pictures from our 2019 on-farm broccoli yield trials: North River Farms & Irma’s Produce.

Eastern Broccoli Project logo

Almost ten years ago, we began our work with Cornell’s Eastern Broccoli Project to breed new hybrids suitable for production in the Eastern U.S.

Important qualities we look for are taste, color, ease of harvest, disease resistance, and more. We’ve seen great success within this project! There have been several releases of broccoli lines for the East coast due to this project. With the help of our on-farm collaborators, we are able to test the best performing varieties from public and private breeders in commercial settings.

Read about our program’s contributions to the project

If you’re interested in viewing the varieties the project has released, visit the Eastern Broccoli Project website.

Interested in growing broccoli? Opportunities for a potential regional icing center may be a next good step.

Are you a local grower interested in growing broccoli large-scale, but cannot because of limited icing and storage options? We are interested in supporting the creation of a regional icing center(s).

Contact Margaret Bloomquist at margaret_bloomquist@NCSU.edu for more information.