High Tunnel Trellised Cucumber Report

We are looking at 11 of the latest varieties of cucumbers for production characteristics, flavor and shelf life

Locally produced cucumbers are one of the crops most in demand by consumers. Many Pennsylvania growers have met this demand and sell field-grown cucumbers to Giant Foods, Wegman’s, and other major chains. The potential to expand those markets by producing cucumbers both earlier and later than the traditional field-grown season potentially represents several million dollars. The U.S. wholesale market for fresh cucumbers exceeded 480 million dollars on 2012.This year, we are trialing both varieties and production methods to produce specific varieties known as ‘parthenocarpic’ (they do not require pollination by bees) in the small high tunnel at SEAREC. We are looking at 11 of the latest varieties for production characteristics, flavor and shelf life.

Consumers today increasingly demand high quality, full flavored produce. In addition, the single most important trend in produce is the demand for locally produced fruits and vegetables. While consumers vary in their definition of “locally produced” there is no doubt that good flavor is one important characteristic that comes in their package of expectations. With the entire Mid-Atlantic region to market into, PA vegetable growers have the opportunity to meet a substantial portion of the growing demand for cucumbers. Based on the USDA ERS figure from 2012 of $480 M+, and just over 50% of the U.S population lives within 12 driving hours of PA growers, this could represent in excess of $50M for PA growers when one accounts for seasonality. Funding for this program has been provided by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA) through their Marketing Research Program.

About the Researcher:

Steve Bogash is currently a Horticulture Educator serving Pennsylvania out of the Franklin County office in Chambersburg. He covers vegetables, small fruit, cut flowers, greenhouse vegetables, and specialty marketing as his primary areas of responsibility. Tomatoes, bell peppers, container vegetable, cucumbers, and other specialty crops are regular items in the trial gardens under Steve’s management.

Since 2008, Steve has been doing extensive trials on container-grown vegetables in addition to his high tunnel and field tomato evaluation program started in 2000. Evaluating more than 300 varieties of tomatoes for flavor, appearance, disease resistance and general usability has made Steve very opinionated when it comes to tomato varieties. Steve lives with his wife, Roberta and son, Joe in Newville, PA and is looking to create a vineyard and greenhouse business as a post-retirement form of entertainment.

Contact Information:
Phone:  717-263-9226