UNH Hosts Field Day Sept. 26 to Share Research on Commercial Production of Kiwiberries, Grapes, and Strawberries

Monday, September 10, 2018

grapes on a vine at University of New Hampshire

UNH researchers have found certain varieties of seedless table grapes do better growing in New Hampshire’s colder climate than others.

DURHAM, N.H. – Those interested in the commercial production of kiwiberries, seedless table grapes, and fall-bearing strawberries are invited to the 3rd annual “Under the Vines” Field Day from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. The event will be held at the University of New Hampshire Woodman Horticultural Research Farm, a facility of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station. It is free and open to the public.

Under the Vines is an opportunity for current and future commercial producers, value-added processors, nursery owners, and the public to visit the experiment station’s vineyards and farm, learn about current research and breeding activities, and share their knowledge, questions, and perspectives.


Attendees of this year's field day will learn about all aspects of the production of this emerging specialty crop, from vineyard establishment to harvesting. Various demonstrations will be given, including pruning, weed cultivation, irrigation, and berry evaluation to determine harvest time. Plant breeder Iago Hale, associate professor of specialty crop improvement and leader of the kiwiberry research and breeding program, and vineyard manager Will Hastings will also share their latest research on kiwiberry genetics (what producers need to know before buying vines) and the effects of harvest time and storage on ripening and berry quality. They will also discuss the status of a regional kiwiberry production guide and enterprise analysis, slated for completion this fall.

Seedless Table Grapes

Experiment station researcher Becky Sideman, extension professor of sustainable horticulture production, and George Hamilton, extension field specialist, will discuss their seedless table grape research, which is intended to benefit regional growers interested in growing table grapes for local markets. Now in its fourth year, the project aims to determine which varieties of seedless table grapes are best suited to New Hampshire production, and to determine which growing systems are best suited to those varieties. The results are particularly relevant to growers in USDA hardiness zone 5B and warmer, which corresponds approximately to the southern half of New Hampshire, and much of the rest of New England.

Fall-Bearing Strawberries

While strawberries do not grow on a vine, researcher Kaitlyn Orde will be available to discuss the experiment station’s TunnelBerries research project, which has resulted in UNH scientists quadrupling the length of the state’s strawberry season. Orde will discuss variety choice and evaluation, plant and nutrient management, and low tunnels for fall berries.

The event will conclude with kiwiberry, seedless table grape and strawberry tasting and time for discussion. The field day is free and open to the public; however, the focus is on research for commercial production. For directions to the farm visit: https://colsa.unh.edu/nhaes/directions/Woodman. Ample parking at the farm is free.

This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award numbers 233561 and 1006928, and the state of New Hampshire. The seedless table grape research also is supported by the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food through NH Specialty Crop Block Grant 14-SCBGP-NH-0033.

Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission.

Editor's Notes: 


In 2013, Iago Hale, a plant breeder and associate professor of specialty crop improvement at UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, established a kiwiberry research and breeding program at the NH Agricultural Experiment Station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm.

UNH researchers have found certain varieties of seedless table grapes do better growing in New Hampshire’s colder climate than others.