Research Stations - Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station
Tomatoes, peppers, squash and other vegetables are grown at MHCRS. The station is recognized worldwide for its tomato research program which has produced superior varieties with disease resistance, larger fruit size, higher quality and prolonged shelf life. Research in disease management has resulted in solving major tomato diseases which have plagued tomato producers for the past 41 years. Weed Science studies are conducted including black nightshade, a potential threat to tomato production in North Carolina because it is a plant related to tomatoes.
MHCRS is a leader in apple research in the Southeast. Ongoing projects include rootstock and variety evaluations, spacing and training techniques, plant growth regulator and pesticide studies. Resulting information is being integrated into new technologies for high-density orchard production systems. Selected varieties of peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are being evaluated for adaptation to Western North Carolina conditions. Grants from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission are currently supporting raspberry production research.
Specialty Crops and Organics
Production of high-value specialty crops and organics are increasingly important as farmers in Western North Carolina strive to keep their farms profitable. Work at MHCRS reflects the growing interest in culinary and medicinal herbs, native woodland botanicals, traditional wild foods, heirloom vegetable varieties and organics.
The nursery/greenhouse industries are a major source of crop income for North Carolina farmers and continue to expand in both local and export sales. Researchers are focusing on development of new nursery crops with superior pest resistance, greater tolerance to environmental stresses and enhanced commercial potential. Evaluation and development of environmentally-friendly production practices is an important aspect of this research.