Food Technology Ph.D. Candidate
Abstract: Execution of the USDA organic standards led to more support for local food as distinct from organic food. The current study was conducted to examine fresh produce perceptions and purchasing decisions of SC consumers. Four-hundred and eight SC consumers were surveyed at SC grocery stores. More than one-third of the SC consumers not knowing about the “certified SC grown” program suggest that the SC Department< of Agriculture (SCDA) may want to improve the promotion of their program. Eighty-five percent of consumers indicated that they would choose local over organic. This information would be useful to local SC produce farmers who are contemplating whether or not to go through the USDA organic certification process. The annual revenue from fruit and vegetable production in SC has been estimated to reach $161 million from the state’s reported 1,520 vegetable and 1,340 fruit farms. Farmers should be knowledgeable about the latest trends and innovations in produce farming to maintain this level of production. The current producer survey was conducted to identify their current practices, educational needs, and preferred method of information distribution. Seventy-one percent of farmers were conventional, however almost the same amount of farms were interested in receiving information on organic agriculture. Putrescine (diamine), spermine and spermidine (polyamines), as well as cadaverine are indispensable components of living cells and are in fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been found to combat diseases. Leafy greens are no exception. There has been an increasing trend toward organic farming because it is perceived as healthier by consumers. Research has shown organic products to be higher than their conventional counterparts in polyamines but more controlled research was necessary to validate this finding. Therefore, USDA organic and conventional collard greens were grown in a greenhouse to examine the effect of cultivation practices on quality attributes. The organic collards weighed significantly less, were significantly lighter in color and had a significantly higher polyamine concentration (P-value < 0.05) than their conventional counterparts. Polyamines were found to be associated with higher yellow values within the organically grown collards, which may be a predictor of higher levels of polyamines.