Look for new twists in final Market Chef event

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2014

There are some great activities going on this summer outside of the office. I receive questions on a daily basis. Here are a few from recent events.
Question: I have loved all of the Market Chef competitions! Can you tell me what I can expect with the finale?
Answer: All I can say is that we will have a dessert themed finale. But, one thing for sure is that the competition will get tougher. With each round, something has been added or removed. In the previous round, we limited pantry items to only 10. This was tough for some of the competitors because they were unsure of what to bring. The last round will be just as tricky. We are working on electrical issues so that the next competition can run as smooth as possible; you never know what will happen when you’re working outdoors. If you are interested in participating, we only have one slot still open for the Sept. 6 round so contact us as soon as possible to enter. For more information, visit www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com or www.rowanextension.org (spotlight section for Market Chef).
Question: Can I grow a peach from the seed?
Answer: I received this question while presenting the adult reading program at Rowan Public Library. I thought it was a good one to address in my weekly article. My answer to the question is that you can grow fruit from the seed of a fruit purchased from the grocery store, but I don’t believe you should. The reason being is that almost all fruit trees that are planted are grafted trees. Fruit trees are grafted because they usually have disease and insect problems. When a fruit tree is grafted on a root stock, that root stock is better suited to withstand disease and pest pressure. Growing fruit straight from the seed typically results in short-lived trees, which stinks when you expect to start harvesting fruit within three years of planting.
Question: Why do you have so many tomatoes in your raised beds at the Extension office?
Answer: So glad you asked. We are testing some tomato varieties and comparing them with grafted heirloom tomatoes. Now, you may ask what a grafted tomato is. It is very similar to grafted fruit trees. You take an heirloom tomato, graft it to a rootstock tomato, and get a grafted tomato. We were very fortunate to get our grafted tomatoes from Eagle Farms (a local vendor at the Salisbury Farmers’ Market). We were able to get three varieties: Cherokee Purple, Black Krim and German Johnson. We have been comparing them to the popular variety, Better Boy. Without getting ahead of myself, the results have been quite interesting. Stay tuned for an upcoming article on the results and information about a field day to show off the trials.
For more information on the Market Chef competition, fruit trees, or grafted tomatoes, please call the Extension office at 704-216-8970.

For more information on the topics discussed, visit these links:
Market Chef — http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu/spotlight/2014-market-chef-competition/
Fruit Trees — http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag28.html
Grafted Tomatoes — http://growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu/growingsmallfarms-2008tomatografting/