Steve Sargent Extension postharvest horticulturist Horticultural Sciences Department University of Florida-IFAS.

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1 Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference January 9, 2015 Steve Sargent Extension postharvest horticulturist Horticultural Sciences Department University of Florida-IFAS

2 DEALING WITH SUCCESS!! How do increasing yields affect: Crew size needed for harvest Fruit wait time in the field Ability to minimize contamination Transport volume/time to packinghouse Time to cool to final pulp temperature

3 KEYS FOR SUCCESS!! Harvest at proper maturity Minimize mechanical damage Manage fruit temperature

4 Delayed Harvest may result in softer fruit

5 Fruit detachment force: cultivar, harvest maturity for 2 harvests

6 How Does Harvest Time Affect Quality?? Cvs. Emerald, Jewel, Primadona were harvested early, mid and late season For each harvest, fruit sorted and packed into 4.4 oz clamshells Cooled and stored at 37 o F Quality determined during 14 days storage

7 Weight loss after 0, 7, and 14 days at 37 F for harvests 1, 2, and 3. Emerald Jewel Primadonna 5 4 Weight Loss (%) d 14d 7d 14d 7d 14d Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest 3

8 Brix/acid ratio after 0, 7, and 14 days at 37 for harvests 1, 2, and 3. Emerald Jewel Primadonna Brix / TTA d 7d 14d 0d 7d 14d 0d 7d 14d Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest Season

9 Causes of Mechanical Damage Fruit receive many impacts during harvest and handling

10 Typical handling steps and potential for mechanical damage Blueberry Handling Farm level Bush: Harvest Bucket Field Presorting Lugs/ Pallet Field Transportation Potential point of damage Loading / unloading

11 Receiving/packing/cooling facility Road Transp. Overnight Cold Storage Sort/ Grade/ Pack/ Palletize Rapid Cooling/ Storage Shipping Potential point of damage Loading / unloading

12 Transfer to field lug Blueberry harvest

13 Mobile collection/pregrading station

14 Portable collection/pregrading station

15 Example of a well-designed field lug: Cross-braces reduce vibration Short height better use of space Good ventilation when stacked

16 Transfer to packing area

17 Impact Damage to Fresh Blueberries

18 Impacts affect aroma volatiles Freshly harvested blueberries dropped 6 times from 8 inches (20 cm) and 36 o F (2 o C) Aroma volatiles measured during storage (after 2, 10, 17, 24 days ) Discriminant function analysis performed after separation of blueberry volatiles (Demir et al. 2011)

19 Discriminant Function Analysis showed impacts caused differences in aroma volatiles during storage

20 Demand for fresh-market blueberries continues to rise (Perez & Plattner, 2012) while harvest labor is becoming more scarce (Fonsah et al., 2008). Fruit are typically hand-harvested every 3 to 4 d during the picking season. However, in order for the fruit to be suitable for mechanical harvest, the harvest interval would need to be extended to every 7 to 10 d. This delay might accelerate fruit abscission and/or senescence.

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25 Seasonal Packout: Hand v. Mech. Meadowlark Harvest Marketable Immature Soft Method Hand Machine Significance Farthing Harvest Marketable Immature Soft Method Hand Machine Significance Sweetcrisp Harvest Marketable Immature Soft Method Hand Machine Significance

26 Visual Quality: Hand v. Mech. Harvest Cultiv. App Rat Hand Harvested and Stored Mech. Harvested and Stored 7 days 14 days 7 days 14 days Soft % Shr % App Soft % Shr % App Rat Soft % Shr % App Rat Soft % Shr % Harvest 1 M-lark Farth Swtcrs

27 Flavor: Hand v. Mech. Harvest Initial Hand (14 d) Mech. (14 d) Cult. SSC TTA (%) SSC/TTA SSC TTA % SSC/TTA SSC TTA % SSC/TTA M- lark a B b A a AB Far a C a A a B Swcr b B c A b B y Means (n=4) followed by the same lower case letter in a column or capital letter in the same row are not significantly different according to Duncan s Multiple Range Test (P<0.05).

28 Causes of Mechanical Damage Fruit several impacts during mechanical harvest Most severe occurs as the detached fruit falls to the catch plates on the harvester This impact is believed to be the major cause of fruit softening during storage

29 Delays to harvest on quality Objective: Evaluate mechanical and sensory quality of blueberries picked upon reaching blue color stage and after an additional 7 days on the plant.

30 Storage Quality

31 How long can cooling be delayed without affecting fruit quality? `Bonita rabbiteye blueberries picked, stored overnight at 36 o F and 90% relative humidity (RH) Next day, sorted into clamshells; warmed to 86 o F Cooled to 39 o F after 2, 4, 6 or 8 hour delay Stored at 36 o F and evaluated weekly

32 Delays to Cooling: Results Incidence of unmarketable fruit (%) Delay (hr) Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week

33 Delays to Cooling: Results Weight loss during storage

34 Delays to Cooling: Results Firmness During Storage

35 Conclusions Weight loss: Cultivar-dependent Cooling delays over 6 hours = loss during storage Fruit firmness: softening, abscission with delays to harvest Fruit flavor: Cultivar-dependent Regular harvest time - minor effect Delayed harvest time - sweeter

36 Conclusions (cont.) Mechanical Harvest (vs. Hand Harvest): Cultivar differences soft fruit at harvest and during storage Shrivel symptoms didn t correlate with soft fruit flavor

37 Questions??

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