The summer's annual conference of the American Society for Horticultural Science in Las Vegas, will deliver a variety of crucial issues facing today's world and how the realm of horticulture is addressing them. There is one presentation that holds all the intrigue of a murder mystery and all the painstaking, arduous pursuit of an archeological dig, along with a touch of serendipity.
Gary Bachman, Christine Coker, and Patricia Knight of the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center will detail their relevant experiences in Horticulture CSI: Search for the Long Beach Radish https:/
According to the speakers, this is an instance of solving the mystery of the disappearance, and ultimately the rediscovery, of the Long Beach red radish (LBR). The LBR was a prominent vegetable that very few people know about at all today. Although it holds singular responsibility for securing Long Beach, Mississippi, as a significant economic force in truck cropping in the early 20th century, the Long Beach Red disappeared completely. It was large enough to appear as a red carrot, attractive, and delicious and therefore sought after by distant markets. Each winter up to 300 railroad boxcars were filled with LBR and delivered to the Northern states. The demand was plentiful.
But something happened. Production markets opened up in Florida and other areas, and The Long Beach Red radish was no more. Clues about this peculiar disappearance were scant, and the trail has gone cold. No seed companies carry LBR seeds in the modern age. Extension records yielded no results.
The Long Beach Red radish might still be thought extinct if not for the tenacious efforts of Bachman, Coker and Knight. The result of their efforts might be the restoration of a one-time food staple to its position of glory. Their investigative tale is an inspiration, and well worth a listen.
Bachman adds, "Extension problem solving is really all about listening because sometimes the answer to a problem comes from a very unlikely time or source."
The American Society for Horticultural Science hosts its international conference each year, offering an illuminating exchange of ideas and methodology that is critical to those working in the various fields of horticultural science and education. The sessions are also accessible to interested non-scientists who generally discover an importance tied to the information being exchanged. This year, the conference takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 21-25 at the Tropicana Hotel.
For more information, contact Negar Mahdavian at 703-836-4606 ext 107.
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticulture research, education, and application. For more information on the conference and specific sessions, go to ashs.org.