SALAD MIX PRODUCTION
Coonamessett Farm operates a typical small scale farm that grows vegetables, small fruit, cutting flowers, herbs, bedding plants, etc. The products are sold at farmer’s markets and directly to restaurants. One product offered is a salad mix made up of young as well as mature leaves of many varieties of lettuce and greens. This is a very profitable item during the good growing seasons of spring and fall. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts funded Coonamessett Farm to demonstrate growing salad mix cost-effectively on a year-round basis. The main objective of this project was to compare conventional growing methods used for salad mix (greenhouse and field), to a new approach using a high tunnel with root zone heating in winter and liquid shade in summer. Gross and net income of the various production methods were compared on a seasonal basis.
Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture
Barnstable County Cooperative Extension, Massachusetts
Coonamessett Farm cooperated with Barnstable County Extension and Cornell University to examine the potential of commercially cultivating beach plums, Prunus maritima. This entailed an extensive literature search on the beach plum covering all aspects of its propagation and culture and producing a practical manual based on the results. A small scale propagation program for beach plums was set up at Coonamessett Farm and is still in production. Seeds and root cuttings from the most promising wild plants found on Cape Cod were cultured for this planting. The test plot contains a controlled beach plum planting that is being used to evaluate the cultural practices of mulching, fertilization, and irrigation in a commercial orchard setting. Several test plantings on Cape Cod farms were established and a marketing program for graded quality beach plum products was also developed. Coonamessett Farm was involved in producing a Beach Plum Grower’s Manual and forming a Cape Cod Beach Plum Grower’s Association.
CULTIVATION OF BEACH PLUMBS FOR COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION
This project entailed the design, construction, and operation of a modified ebb and flow system that can be used to demonstrate the commercial viability of raising greenhouse crops (bedding plants and field transplants) and aquatic crops (crayfish, baitfish, ornamental fish) with the same equipment. A new technology from Japan, Bio-cord, was tested as a means of maintaining water quality in the closed system. The cord is basically a core covered with many rings of thread that provides a large surface area for the attachment of microbes. Crayfish and baitfish feed on micro-organisms, thus, besides maintaining water quality, the presence of the Bio-Cord may provide an alternate food source for the aquatic crop. The project also tested the Bio-cord in a cranberry bog setting to determine the product’s impact on water quality.