Over the past two decades, there has been an increase in the American Asian populations on the East Coast, including the Delmarva Peninsula. This growing ethnic Asian population and associated food and culinary industries generate demand and opportunities for local growers to grow Asian Indian vegetables. Currently, most of these vegetables are imported from South America but recent data show an untapped market on the East Coast for Asian Indian vegetable crops worth $190 to $230 million per year.
Therefore, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) state SARE program is conducting a two-year project that will convene a multidisciplinary ‘Ethnic Crop Team’ of university faculty, extension agents, local growers, nonprofit staff and other stakeholders to offer demonstrations and extension outreach for growers on the Peninsula who have an interest in growing Asian Indian vegetables.
An annual plasticulture system will be developed for the cultivation of four popular Asian Indian vegetables including bitter gourd, bottle gourd, fenugreek leaves, and eggplant (small and round). Varieties of these crops will be screened for authentic Indian taste. Cooking classes and recipe development for Indian vegetables will also be offered.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant: