Investigation of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa Mol.) as a Potential Vegetable Crop in the Pacific Northwest

TitleInvestigation of Oca (Oxalis tuberosa Mol.) as a Potential Vegetable Crop in the Pacific Northwest
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsFritz, Lara E.
Academic DepartmentEnvironmental Science- College of Science
Thesis AdvisorKling, Jennifer
DegreeHonors Baccalaureate of Arts in International Studies in Environmental Science
Number of Pages65
Date Published06/2004
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
KeywordsAndes, Environmental Science, new crop, Pacific Northwest, tuber

New crops are an important component of food security and diversification of diet and agricultural systems. Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)is a tuber crop from the Andes and shows promise as an introduced vegetable crop in the Pacific Northwest based on trial cultivation and its success in the Andean highlands of South America, Mexico and New Zealand. In this study, the potential for production and marketing in the PNW were analyzed, based upon review or recent literature and results of two years of small-scale production in Corvallis, Oregon. The rarity of propagation by true seed and the lack of comprehensive understanding of oca’s phylogentic relationships and natural pollination methods hinder breeding potential. Production is challenged by limitations to size and yield at this latitude and the need for studies of response to local agronomic factors. Negative nutritional effects of oxalates warrant further research. The outlook for marketability is good, as Mexican populations are already familiar with oca and as there are moderate niche markets in the PNW for local and organic products. Direct marketing especially at farmers markets seems like the best means of promotion. Future growth of an industry will depend on local grower and local consumer interest.