Yesterday I was at the open house/field day at the UMass Crops and Animal Research and Education Farm in South Deerfield. One of the crops that they have been working with is taioba. To me, it looks a lot like the "Elephant Ears" plant grown in flower gardens for decoration. Several grad students from Central/South America have been brought in to help with the research. It is cooked and eaten much like spinach.
The main test plot, this year, has grown to about a half acre, managed as 2 plots. Each plot is picked every 2 weeks, so they have product once a week. It is wholesaled to Whole Foods market, where it sells out in about 15 minutes at about $6 per pound. (it is only sold in 2 test markets) People travel 100 miles to be in line to buy it. It is expensive to grow here as an annual (it is perenniel in S. America), and so far the researchers have not found a good way to dig up and over winter the corms (a kind of bulb). If they find a way to propigate corms in the USA, production costs will come way down, and farmers may be able to profitably grow the crop. The research is for both organic and conventionally grown taioba.
post edited by tmiles - 2011/08/04 09:51:11