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Georgia Growers Look To Pomegranates As New Cash Crop



while Alma Georgia might be considered blueberry country it's far from being the most unusual fruit that's being grown in that area that distinction belongs to the pomegranate and it's bringing a taste of the west coast down south yeah Devon Jones takes a look at one pomegranate farm that began as a hobby and turned into an experiment station when talking about Georgia agriculture the first three peas that come to mind are of course peanuts peaches and pecans but what about pomegranates that tried this fruit which is mostly produced in California has made its way down south near Don Wade's orchard the trees are in full bloom with a crop he surprisingly grew up with every farmer in this general area had 1 to 5 palm radish growing in their backyard everybody had palm radish but so they were all seedlings so I knew that they could grow here however Wade has taken this labor of love to the next level as he experiments with a number of different varieties from all over the world each and every year oh I do that yes I've been took out probably 15 to 18 varieties on where he took out I've already got another dozen varieties that I'm I'm tinkering with taking them out I hadn't fully decided yet but yeah if they don't produce 50 pounds of a better per bush per year I'm taking them out none like Alma's signature fruit blueberries pomegranates are capable of growing in areas that don't take much preparation pomegranates will grow in our old soils or soils were cotton peanuts corn soybeans that stuff's been growing blueberries need to go and cut over Timberland because they'd require low pH pomegranates require high pH unlike in California where the humidity is considerably lower growers have seen big problems with disease it's one of the many things they're looking for when testing the number of different varieties but we've got to fix this thing with these fungus diseases we've had to do it with tobacco we've had to do with cotton we've had to do it with peanuts you know they in a crop probably except maybe corn that we're ever growing this area that we didn't have a humidity problem with so we just got to fix that problem or if that problem is fixed there are obvious benefits to having this fruit grown in the city well jobs number one jobs in this area it's wrong they come in in the offseason when blueberries is we know or a spring and summer as blueberries tail off then pomegranates could come in and take the place and keep some of the packing facilities go away I mean these guys already got the sprayers they've got the trucks they've got the packing sheds you know they've got it all we needed was that area separator the USD is just fixes with that and I think we're on the way recently the USDA gave 150 thousand dollar grant to purchase this machinery they'll separate the fruit from the skin making it easier to get ready for the market or juicing two big step considering that less than a quarter of the pomegranates make it to market because the outside blemishes even though the fruit inside is still acceptable the other areas on the inside are fine and we have just received a grant from USDA to purchase a aerial separator um it's going to be located in a local blueberry juice and facility already got FDA approval law they have blueberry juice in around 600 stores at this time and hopefully we're going to be able to tag along with them with pomegranate juice reporting from Alma I'm Damon Jones for the Georgia Farm monitor

3 Comments

  1. MrChoudhury

    I was hoping these experienced farmers that identified the varieties that do best here in Georgia mentioned the exact type. I was listening for it, but alas, no mention of it. Do you have that information? I'm growing a tree off of a seed from a Pomegranates I ate couple of years ago and the tree is pretty big now (growing outside 7b). So I know we can grow here, but need to get some of the varieties that are proven to do well here.

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