Some produce found on grocery shelves couldn’t be found in nature – at least until some farmers and food researchers got involved.The Honeycrisp apple and the seedless watermelon are two of these. But the process of improving on crops has been going on for as long as people have been planting them. And we at Texas Standard wondered about some top produce creations with Lone Star roots.
The Standard asked Texas A&M horticulture professor Bhimu Patil to count down his Texas top five.
Melon: Watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydews fall into the melon category. Patil recently received a grant from the USDA to develop new varieties of melons that are designed to be E.coli and salmonella-resistant.
Beta Sweet carrot: A&M researched developed this maroon carrot in the 1980s.
Texas TAM Mild Jalapeño 1 and 2: Love the flavor, but hate the heat? Researchers created the mild No. 1 and No. 2 jalapeño variants to decrease the risk of stomach ulcers in consumers. They are now the peppers most commonly used in commercial salsas, including Pace Picante Sauce.
Texas Rio Red Grapefruit: It’s the most common grapefruit found in Texas produce sections. Patil says this grapefruit has a lot of potential benefits for prostate cancer prevention. For some reason, this grapefruit varietal is uniquely successful in Texas. If you try to grow the Rio Red grapefruit in California or even South Africa, it won’t taste the same, he says.
1015 onion: This onion was developed to be a mild alternative for consumers. But more than that, the 1015 onion has made a major economic splash in Texas. It’s made about $350 million a year since 1997.
Written by Morgan Kuehler.