New Pumpkin, Calabaza Breeds Make Headway at UF (Southeast Produce Weekly)

New Pumpkin, Calabaza Breeds Make Headway at UF

Pumpkin’s popularity for holiday decor, healthy snacking and recipes during fall and winter months, has given rise to innovative research led by Geoffrey Meru, an assistant professor of vegetable breeding, genetics and genomics at the Tropical Research and Education Center of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The goal is to develop varieties of pumpkins that are attractive to growers because they produce high-yielding, superior quality (flesh sweetness, texture, flavor, and color) that can withstand hot, humid, and wet conditions of South Florida all year round.

“The cucurbit-breeding program is making headway in developing nutritious dual-purpose pumpkins adapted to South Florida’s tropical climate using traditional and contemporary breeding approaches,” Meru said. “Once available, these cultivars will be integral to promoting a niche industry for specialty pumpkins in South Florida.”

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