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New hybrid broccoli variety paves way for East Coast cultivation

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

After 15 years of research and development, Thomas Björkman, a Cornell University professor, has successfully developed a hybrid broccoli that can thrive on the East Coast, where it’s typically too hot in summer for conventional varieties.

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With the plant originally being a winter vegetable from the Mediterranean, the mid-to-high 60s nighttime temperatures on the East Coast usually hinder the development of broccoli heads.

East Coast broccoli production was previously considered financially risky due to the costs associated with potential crop loss from warmer temperatures, as growing broccoli typically costs about $5,000 per acre.

If the hybrid broccoli can be produced more widely on the East Coast, it could reduce the region’s dependence on broccoli imports from California. The variety, currently in the experimental stages, will be evaluated by Bejo Seeds in the fall to decide if they’ll continue with the venture.