Horticultural Sciences Department

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Issue No. 598

The Vegetarian Newsletter 

A Horticultural Sciences Department Extension Publication on 
Vegetable and Fruit Crops 

Eat your Veggies and Fruits!!!!!

Publish Date: 
February 2015

Final Call for Abstracts

128th Florida State Horticultural Society Annual Meeting

May 31 – June 2, 2015


Please get Titles to Section VPs ASAP.

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 13, 2015

Come and explore fabulous St. Augustine with the Florida State Horticulture Society and experience carriage tours, haunted houses and exceptional golf facilities!  The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in St. Augustine, FL features easy access to the World Golf Hall of Fame and two Palmer-Nicklaus designed golf courses, all surrounded by luxurious horticultural features.  For more information on room and conference facilities: http://www.worldgolfrenaissance.com/

The 2015 Meeting of FSHS will feature presentations of applied research pertaining to horticultural and agronomic crops and products, and new developments and practices that have been put into use by growers, processors, allied industries, and other horticultural interests in Florida. Growers, processors and those in allied industries are encouraged to present papers. The meeting also features posters presented by county extension faculty. The meeting will again feature two FSHS student competitions: a Student Best Oral Presentation Competition and a Student Best Paper Competition. 

FSHS will again host the County Faculty Poster Session (Senior and presenting author must be a County faculty member attending the meeting).  County faculty with programmatic responsibilities in Horticulture, Agriculture, and Family and Consumer Sciences are encouraged to submit entries provided the topic of the poster involves horticultural commodities.

Abstract Submission Guidelines

I.        Florida State Horticultural Society – Contributed oral presentations

Authors in good standing with FSHS are encouraged to submit abstract titles to section-VPs by Feb 13, 2015. The list of titles is used for advertising the meeting. Abstracts are due by March 13, 2015 to the respective section vice president and will be published on the FSHS web site (http://www.fshs.org).  See instructions below.  Papers presented at the Annual Meeting will be published in the Proceedings of the FSHS; manuscripts are due at the time of the presentation for FSHS.  The end of the grace period for late manuscripts corresponding to talks given at FSHS is June 19, 2015.

The abstract limit is 250 words. Abstracts should be e-mailed (in MS Word or Rich Text Format only) to the appropriate sectional Vice President listed below. See the FSHS website for complete format instructions for abstract and manuscript preparation (http://fshs.org/author-instructions/). The sectional Vice Presidents will notify senior authors concerning the acceptance, handling and scheduling of their papers by April 3, 2015.

2015 FSHS Sectional Vice Presidents:


Session VP

VP Email address


Cami Esmel McAvoy


Ornamentals, Garden & Landscape

Shawn Steed


Handling & Processing

Michelle Danyluk


Krome Memorial

Christian Miller



Mary Beth Henry


Natural Resources

Lyn Gettys


II.        Florida State Horticultural Society – Poster presentations

Posters should present an Extension program following the format: title, author(s), affiliation, introduction/ background, problem faced by the target audience, objectives and educational approach, teaching(s) offered, curriculum used, outcomes and impacts, and pros and cons in adopting this program in another county.  Posters must be self-standing (hard back; size not to exceed 4-ft wide x 3-ft tall) and set up will be on Sunday May 31st between 3:00 and 5:00 pm, and poster must be removed by Tuesday, June 2 at 12:30 p.m. Interaction/discussion between meeting audience and authors will be facilitated during two poster sessions on Sunday June 1 during the welcome reception and on Monday June 2 between 7:30 and 8:30 am in the continental breakfast area. A 500-word expanded abstracts (1 page of text and 1 page of tables, figures or pictures) will be published in the FSHS proceedings.  Note that FSHS publications allow for links to videos. Submit your extended abstracts to the Poster Session Coordinator Erin Harlow (ErinE@coj.net).

III.        Student Competitions:

Student Best Oral Presentation Competition (SBOPC): The number of entries in the SBOPC is limited to 15. Students need to indicate their participation in the competition at the time of abstract submission to the sectional VP. Acceptance in the competition is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Participants are judged on importance of the subject to Florida horticulture, scientific merit, organization, awareness of current literature, fluency, clarity of presentation, effective use of figures and tables, report of conclusions, completeness, timing, and response to questions. For more information on the SBOPC competition, contact Kelly Morgan at conserv@ufl.edu.

Student Best Paper Competition (SBPC): To participate in the SBPC, students must submit a manuscript (use author guidelines for the Proceedings of the FSHS) by email with the subject “Student Best Paper Competition” to fshsproc@ashs.org by June 5, 2014. Student papers will be published in the Proceedings of FSHS. Entries will be judged on relevance to Florida horticulture, scientific merit, experimental design rigor, literature review, completeness, and clarity. For more information on the SBPC competition, Kelly Morgan at conserv@ufl.edu.

Mercy Olmstead
FSHS Program Coordinator

Florida State Horticulture Society
United States

Florida State Horticultural Society

2015 Annual Meeting

First Call for Titles and Abstracts

Please see this flier for information for deadlines and contact information

The Potential for Hydrocooling Florida Strawberries

Steven A. Sargent, Jeffrey K. Brecht and Adrian D. Berry

Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida/IFAS, Gainesville

Florida is the major winter producer of fresh-market strawberries in North America, and increasing acreage in recent years resulted in a value of $307 million in farm-level sales in the 2013-2014 growing season from some 10,900 acres. Due to perishability, strawberries require careful handling and rapid cooling (precooling) after harvest to maximize postharvest life (potentially about 14 days). To minimize handling steps and thus potential injuries, strawberries are hand-harvested directly into the retail package (clamshells) and placed in single-layer flats that are palletized in the field and transported to a cooling facility – ideally within a couple of hours of harvest. For fresh fruits and vegetables, proper cooling requires removal of 7/8 of the field heat (termed, 7/8 Cooling) during the cooling process. Calculation of the target final pulp temperature for 7/8 Cooling is based on the initial fruit pulp temperature relative to the cold air or cold water temperature. Strawberries are forced-air cooled, a process that typically requires 1 to 2 hours to achieve 7/8 Cooling. However, delays from harvest and non-uniform cooling have potential to lower quality and postharvest life.

Initial cooling studies

We recently completed a multi-year study that concluded there is potential for using hydrocooling as an alternative method to quickly and thoroughly cool strawberries. The first extensive laboratory-scale tests were conducted in the early 1990’s by Dr. Marcos Ferreira during his M.Sc. program at UF. He demonstrated that immersion in 34oF water cooled strawberries in less than 15 minutes – five times faster than forced-air cooling. He also showed the importance of maintaining 100 to 150 ppm free chlorine at all times in the hydrocooling water to eliminate growth of decay organisms during storage. Following hydrocooling the fruit are drained and, as a result have free water adhering to the surfaces, Chlorine makes it safe to store moist fruit by neutralizing decay pathogens. More recently, visiting scientists Dr. Angelo Jacomino and Dr. Marcello Carnelossi conducted detailed, larger-scale tests at UF that developed protocols for 1) accurate determination of cooling rates, 2) that strawberries hydrocooled in clamshell containers cool as fast as loose fruit, and 3) that hydrocooling also removes most particulates and flower parts from the fruit surfaces. Companion studies by UF faculty Dr. Jerry Bartz and Dr. Keith Schneider confirmed that cooling with chlorinated water significantly reduced microbial loads of decay and human pathogens on the fruit surfaces (data not presented here).

Commercial-scale Tests

In spring 2014 we conducted tests at a Florida strawberry grower’s cooling facility using an immersion system with a capacity of one pallet (almost 1,000 lbs) of strawberries per hour (Fig. 1). The hydrocooler immersion tank had a maximum capacity of 28 double-stacked, returnable plastic containers (RPCs – 9 clamshells per RPC) in two lanes. A high-volume, water flow-rate (over 720 gallons/minute) ensured uniform water mixing and consistent temperature (34oF) during cooling treatments.

Effects on cooling rate. For Test 1 (20 Feb. 2014), freshly harvested strawberries were brought to the cooling facility immediately after harvest and individual representative fruit were probed with tiny thermocouples at fruit center for monitoring of the pulp temperatures during both forced-air and hydrocooling(Fig. 2). The forced-air cooler was determined to have excellent performance, with recommended airflow through the pallet and capability of maintaining setpoint air temperature. Results for forced-air cooling (Fig. 3) showed that fruit with initial pulp temperatures of 81-86oF (27-30oC) required more than 80 minutes of cooling to achieve 7/8 Cooling. The fruit maintained about 5oF difference between inlet (outside tunnel) and outlet (inside tunnel) pulp temperatures during the entire cooling period. However, hydrocooled strawberries (Fig. 4) reached 7/8 Cooling in only 8 to 11 minutes. Following the cooling treatments, flats or RPCs from each cooling method were stacked on different pallets and held for 14 days in the 34oF cold room.

Effects of fruit quality. Fruit quality was evaluated after 7 and 14 days of storage. Neither cooling method nor storage time affected fruit quality differently in terms of soluble solids content (7.03 - 7.98% [oBrix]) and total titratable acidity (0.88 - 0.98% [citric acid]); fruit pulp color also was not affected - anthocyanin content ranged from 17.26 - 21.19 PGN/100 g (data not shown). Ratings for fruit and calyx appearance and incidence of decay decreased after 7 and 14 days of storage, although there were no treatment differences (Table 1). However, incidence of surface blemishes such as bruises did show treatment differences. The initial quality after cooling treatments in terms of incidence of blemishes was 16.3% and 33.9% for forced-air cooled and hydrocooled strawberries, respectively (Table 1). After 14 days of storage, blemishes for forced-air cooled fruit remained lower (42.2%) than those for hydrocooled fruit (52.0%). It is not clear if hydrocooling really increased the incidence of surface blemishes. These fruit were harvested late in the season which, most likely, affected initial quality. Also, strawberry cultivars were mixed in the pallets and, therefore, harvested from different areas of the field, which may have resulted in fruit of different initial quality.

High incidences of surface blemishes were also reflected in a higher amount of marketable forced-air fruit than hydrocooled fruit after 7 days of storage (54% vs. 31%, respectively; Table 1). This loss of quality after only 7 days of storage revealed the low initial quality of these fruit. After 14 days of storage virtually all strawberries were rated unmarketable (data not shown).

In conclusion, strawberries packed in clamshell containers cooled quickly and uniformly using immersion hydrocooling with sanitized water. The presence of free water on hydrocooled fruit did not promote decay during storage. Mechanical injuries incurred at harvest were exacerbated during 7 days of storage, irrespective of cooling method. Late-season fruit tended to have more latent infections; higher cull rates can be expected.


Acknowledgements: This project would not have been possible without the funding support by Specialty Crops Block Grant No. 018022, Florida Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services, support of the Florida Strawberry Growers Assn., Dole – SunnyRidge Farms and AMP, Inc. This report is extracted from the poster presentation given by the authors at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science, held in Orlando FL.


Figure 1. Left: Two stacked RPCs were manually fed into the hydrocooler each 2-3 minutes. Right: Showing one lane filled, cooled RPCs were removed each 2-3 minutes at the opposite end as the immersion time was reached.


Figure 2. Left: Small thermistor probes were inserted into the center of individual fruit. Right: Pulp temperatures were determined for strawberries located on outside and inside of pallets in the cooling tunnel (set up shown here prior to lowering the blue tarp that covers the tunnel during cooling).

Figure 3. Cooling rate of strawberries in a commercial forced-air tunnel. The dashed line represents the 7/8 Cooling target temperature. Probes measured pulp temperatures of fruit located on the inside (probes 1, 2, 3) or outside (probes 5, 6, 7) of the cooling tunnel.


Figure 4. Cooling rate of strawberries in the semi-commercial scale hydrocooler. The dashed line is the 7/8 Cooling target temperature. Probe locations were in fruit located in the center clamshell in the upper RPC (probe 5), in the center and right side clamshells of the lower RPC (probes 7, 8) and in the water within the upper RPC clamshell (probe 6).

Table 1. Fruit quality during storage at 34oF for forced-air cooled and hydrocooled strawberries.


Storage (days)

Appearance Rating

Blemishes (%)

Decay (%)



Forced Air Cooling


































**Rating Scale for Calyx Appearance


3 = dried     2 = wilted    1 = turgid


*Rating Scale for Fruit Appearance

9 = Excellent: field fresh appearance, high shine

7 = Good: still looks fresh, shiny

5 = Fair: not fresh, low shine, limit of marketability

3 = Poor: dull, limit of usability

1 = Extremely poor: wilted appearance, decay




This article will explain the legal aspects of becoming a registered Farm Labor Contractor (FLC), also known as “Crew Leaders.”   Registration is commonly known as licensing, or having an FLC license. 

According to the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), anyone who recruits, solicits, hires, employs, furnishes or transports any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker should be registered as a Farm Labor Contractor with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR).   Note to growers:   If you are going to contract with an independent entity to furnish workers (or perform any of the above named duties), you must ensure that that entity has a federal and state FLC license, and that the license authorizes the activities being performed.  It’s very important to note the expiration dates of both the license and any authorizations being provided for you.

Technically, employees of an agricultural employer are exempted from registering.  However, in agricultural operations where Crew Leaders are hired as employees BUT still perform all or some of the above-listed tasks independently, the Crew Leaders should be registered. 

Applications for FLC registrations need to be made to the Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division in Atlanta.  This process takes about six weeks. There is no fee for the DOL application, nor is there a test for that registration.  

In addition, an “addendum” to this application has to be submitted to the DBPR in Tallahassee for a Florida registration.  To make this application, mail a copy of what you sent to the DOL in Atlanta plus the state addendum form, to Tallahassee.  Include a money order or cashier’s check for $160 for an initial license ($125 for the license and $35 for the test).  Renewals are $125; no testing required unless:  a) you have been fined for a major violation, b) your license is revoked or suspended or the DBPR refuses to approve or renew your license (known as a “final order”) or c) the test changes due to changes in laws.  

Applications have to include supporting documents.   Depending on activities for which you need specific authorization (transportation, driving, and housing), additional documents will be required, including:

Fingerprint Card (for initial registration or if your old card is more than 3 years old)

Copy of Alien Registration Card (if not a U.S. Citizen)

Copy of Driver’s License

Doctor’s certificate

Vehicle Mechanical Inspection Report for DOT (Department of Transportation) and for DOL (Department of Labor)

Proof of Automobile Liability Insurance

Workers compensation Information or Certificate

Housing Occupancy Certificate.


University of Florida overview:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe406

Department of Labor application and explanation of line items:  http://www.dol.gov/whd/forms/fts_wh530.htm

Florida State Registration forms and explanations: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp?chBoard=true&boardid=75&SID=


Authors:   Thissen, C.; F. Roka; M.T. Bayer.  

Carlene Thissen and Fritz Roka work for the University of Florida at the Southwest Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL, 239-658-3400.  carlene@ufl.edu, fmroka@ufl.edu.  Mike Bayer is a former DOL-WHD Investigator, now with Curran, Bayer & Associates, West Palm Beach, 561-371-0126 mtbayer@curranbayer.com  


The Farm Labor Supervisor (FLS) Training Program is a University of Florida/IFAS Extension program. Begun in 2010, the program is coordinated by Fritz Roka and Carlene Thissen at the Southwest Florida Research & Education Center.  In the past, attendees were awarded Certificates of Attendance and of Certificates of Completion if they attended the core classes.  

NEW!   CERTIFICATE OF FARM LABOR MANAGEMENT:  In 2014, a new program was introduced that allows participants to earn a Certificate of Farm Labor Management.   The objective behind this certificate is to enhance the professional stature of those farm labor supervisors who complete the program and successfully manage farm workers in accordance with all associated rules and regulations.   To achieve the Certificate of Farm Labor Management, a total of eight (8) classes are required, and attendees must pass a test administered at the end of each class.  Three (3) of those classes must be Wage & Hour, Human Resource Compliance, and one class related to worker safety.  The remaining five classes will be the choice of the individual.  Times and locations of classes offered in 2015 will be posted at www.swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu , along with registration information. 

Topics are taught at several locations across Florida and in partnership with county extension faculty.  These topics cover laws that keep farm workers safe, fairly paid, and in a working environment free from discrimination and harassment.  The program is offered in both English and Spanish. If there is sufficient interest, individual classes of combinations of classes can be arranged at times and locations convenient for the participants. We also provide training at grower locations that incorporates grower-specific policies and procedures.  For more information, contact Carlene Thissen, 239-658-3449, carlene@ufl.edu

Considerations for Glyphosate Use in Peach

Gary K. England

Multi-county Extension Agent – Fruit Crops

One of the biggest challenges of producing peaches in Florida is maintaining a relatively weed-free strip within the tree row throughout the majority of the year.  Maintaining this weed-free strip is important since weeds compete with peach trees for water and nutrients, can interrupt the pattern of low-volume irrigation systems and potentially serve as an alternate host for insects and other pests that may infest the crop.

One of the most common herbicide active ingredients used in tree crops in Florida is glyphosate.  Glyphosate is included as the active ingredient in a number of commercial herbicide formulations and is commonly associated with the various Roundup® brands.  The UF/IFAS Extension Publication HS93 entitled “Weed Management in Peach” (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wg020) indicates that sprays consisting of glyphosate containing herbicide products are to be directed to the base of the tree to avoid contact with desirable vegetation.  The product label of one formulation of glyphosate (Roundup Weather Max®) indicates that “extreme care” must be exercised to prevent any component of the spray solution from contacting foliage or green bark of trunk, branches, suckers, fruit or other portions of the tree.  The product label also indicates that suckers and low hanging limbs should be removed at least 10 days before application and that application near recently pruned or otherwise mechanically injured trees should be avoided.  Furthermore the product must not be applied to trees that have been established in the orchard for less than 2 years.

There have been reports of glyphosate injury in Florida peach orchards over the past few years.  One report from Canada indicated that glyphosate toxicity can lead to a gumming of the trunk affecting the flow of water and nutrients in the trunk (http://sprayers101.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2006-Herbicide-Injury-in-Fruit-Trees-and-Grapevines.pdf ).  This same symptom has been observed in Florida and seems to advance to a symptom similar to fungal gummosis as it progresses in orchards where glyphosate injury has been suspected (Figure 1).  Clemson University has published a list of 5 recommendations for those that decide to utilize a glyphosate herbicide in their orchard (http://www.clemson.edu/hort/peach/index.php?p=117 ).

If glyphosate herbicide products are utilized in Florida peach orchards, all instructions on the product must be understood and followed to prevent potential crop injury.  Even when a peach orchard is deemed to be in a dormant stage, especially with our low-chill cultivars, there is a possibility that there still could be susceptible plant tissue which could be affected by a spray solution containing glyphosate.  For growers wishing to avoid potential crop injury from glyphosate, HS93 lists some alternative products to consider.

NC State glyphosate injury picture: http://wolfpackweeds.com/php/herbInjury-photo.php?photo=PeachGlyphosate2.jpg&crop=Peach&act=Glyphosate

Figure 1. Gumming of the trunk potentially associated with a glyphosate application made the previous fall.  PC: Gary K. England 8/14