Early kūmara could become new gourmet food
14 Mar, 2006
Source: Crop & Food Research
Unique white kūmara once grown by early Māori could become a new gourmet food, with help from New Zealand crop scientists.
The Pu Hao Rangi Trust (guardians of the early kūmara) have formed a joint venture with the Tahuri Whenua Inc (the National Māori Vegetable Grower’s Collective) to explore the economic potential of the early kūmara.
Scientists at Crop & Food Research (now called Plant & Food Research) have removed viruses from nine early Māori kūmara lines and maintained them in tissue culture at Lincoln. Agronomists (experts in soil management and field-crop production) are now working to understand the best growing conditions for the cultivars.
“Unlike kūmara grown today little is known about these early cultivars,” Crop & Food’s Māori Research Leader Dr Meto Leach says.
“The research is needed to see how they will survive transplanting and to identify their susceptibility to climate and disease.”
“Just as our fore-bearers found ways to grow this root crop as a food source, we seek to find the current potential of these kūmara,” Pū Hao Rangi Trust Chair Dell Wihongi says.
- 14 November 2007