Vince Fritz, Professor, Department of Horticultural Science
Our horticulture program initiatives at the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center are focused on tropical spice crop production in season extension structures called high tunnels. The use of high tunnels allowed us to create enhanced/modified environments for plant growth beyond the traditional confines of a typical Minnesota crop production season.
Our goal is to establish a balance between traditional yield (leaves, seed, fruit, etc.) and phytonutrient (naturally produced cancer fighting compounds) yield in both vegetable and spice crops. In 2009, we began studies with edible ginger that naturally produces a compound called 6-gingerol.
Also in 2009 at the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center, we initiated a partnership vegetable crop project with the Dakota County Master Gardeners. The objective of the study was to grow several different varieties of vegetable crops in the cabbage family (Brassicaceae) and characterize them for their yield potential, uniformity, and phytonutrient (glucosinolates) concentrations. The ultimate goal is to develop a variety trial that includes relative concentrations of these compounds so that gardeners can begin to make health-related decisions in variety selection for their own gardens.