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Freeze resistant fruit touted for N.M. climate

ALCALDE, N.M. — It has been a rough year for many fruit growers who are now seeing the long-lasting effects from the February freeze on their crops. But there is one fruit that has come through the freeze and late frosts and is thriving – jujubes.

New Mexico State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde is hosting a free workshop Thursday to give producers tips on the flowering and fruiting habits of jujubes. There will also be a taste-testing session. The workshop is from 3-5 p.m.

Shengrui Yao, a fruit specialist at the science center, said that this year many peach trees did not bloom and most apple trees only produced a minimal amount of fruit. Peach tree buds were swept out by the early February freeze and most apples were killed by late frosts where no frost protection measures were taken.

“Jujubes – also called Chinese dates – have grown well this year and produced a large number of fruit,” Yao said. “Jujubes leaf out and bloom four to six weeks later than most fruit trees, meaning they were able to avoid the brunt of late frosts in April and early May.”

Jujube fruit is rich in vitamin C, containing up to 500 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit. They are natural vitamin C pills. Eating several fresh jujube fruits would supply enough vitamin C for an adult’s daily requirement, Yao said.

“Jujubes can be eaten fresh or dried and they are widely used in Chinese cooking for their nutritional value and medicinal effects,” Yao said. “Hopefully, people in New Mexico will soon accept this exotic fruit. Jujube could be a good alternative crop with reliable yield every year, regardless of the threat of late frost.”

Along with the presentation and taste testing of up to 18 cultivars, attendees will be able to take a field tour of jujubes at the science center.

For more information or to register for this workshop, call the Alcalde center at 505-852-4241.



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