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This plant has few severe horticultural problems. It tolerates poor soils and is forgiving of neglect. It is easy to grow from seeds or cuttings and matures quickly. Although harvesting the fruit is labor intensive, the yields are high.

All these features would seem to make the goldenberry an ideal addition to horticulture. However, current types do not travel well, some have a slightly bitter taste that invokes either intense like or dislike, and they can be sticky and mottled in appearance. Currently, the crop is probably best suited for local use as a fresh fruit or for jams. Eventually, however, selections and techniques will be found that deliver top-quality fruits to market. Then, the goldenberry is likely to become a well-known international commodity.

PROSPECTS

The Andes. Many Andeans are familiar with the plant and its requirements. The germplasm to create a global crop is in their gardens. Other parts of the world use vast quantities of blueberries and blackberries in baked goods and cooking; Andean nations now have the opportunity to create an equal demand for goldenberries. Some countries—Colombia and Chile, for example—could add the goldenberry to their fresh-fruit exports.

Other Developing Areas. The goldenberry seems destined to become a popular cash crop for smallholders far beyond its native lands. The plant seems to succeed wherever tomatoes are grown, and it is both cultivated and naturalized in Malaysia, China, India, southern and eastern Africa, and the Caribbean. It is likely that local and export potential for both fresh and processed fruits will develop. (This is already occurring in Kenya. See sidebar.)

The goldenberry plant is one of the first to pioneer newly created waste areas. Its robustness and adaptability could lead to cultivation in many now-unused marginal areas.

Industrialized Regions. With rising consumer awareness and demand, goldenberries will become more common in farmers' markets and urban groceries in North America, Europe, and other industrialized areas. They could become standard produce items, meriting intensive, mechanized agriculture with advanced cultivars. In addition, golden-berry jams and baked goods will become better known.



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