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Post Harvest-Handling Saturday, December 8 th , 2007 OSU Extension Small Farms

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  • Post Harvest-HandlingSaturday, December 8th, 2007OSU Extension Small Farms

  • Why is Post-Harvest Handling Important?

    Food SafetyIncrease shelf-life and marketing opportunitiesFinal Step

  • Post Harvest Steps

    1. Production Practices2. Harvest Handling3. Pre-cooling4. Packaging5. Sanitation6. Refrigeration7. Storage (for some crops)

  • 1. Production Practices

    Choice of cultivarsEnvironmental factorsManagement practicesFood Safety

  • 2. Harvest Handling

    Harvest during coolest time of the dayAvoid unnecessary wounding or bruisingShade harvested produce in the field

  • Harvest Handling continued

    Use only clean transporting containersHandle as little as possible- field pack if possibleTrim fingernails and/or wear glovesBegin post-harvest treatment as soon as possibleDo not mix high quality produce with damaged produceUse appropriate harvest tools

  • Temperature- most important factor!

    Aging due to ripening and softeningRespiratory heat productionMoisture lossSpoilage due to bacteria, fungi and yeastsUndesirable growth

  • 3. Pre-cooling Most important for crops with high respiration rates

    MethodsRoom coolingForced-air coolingHydro-coolingTop or liquid icingVacuum cooling

  • Crop Respiration Rates

    High respirationArtichokesCut flowersGreen onionsSnap beansAsparagusBroccoliPeasCorn

    Low respirationApplesNutsGrapesGarlicOnionsPotatoesSweet potatoes

  • 4. Sanitation

    Pre-wash handlingWater Disinfectant options

    Chlorine (organic considerations)OzoneHydrogen peroxide

  • 5. Packing



    Plastic Bags

  • 6. Refrigeration

    CoolersRefrigeratorRefrigerator truckWalk-in coolerPorta-cooler

  • Preventing Moisture Loss

    Monitor humidity with hygrometerSpectrum Technologies 800-248-8873Barr, Inc 920-231-1711

    Understand crop-by-crop humidity needsHumidification methods

    Humidification deviceBuckets of waterKeeping the floor wet

  • Chilling Injury

    Highly sensitiveBasilCucumbersEggplantsPumpkinsSummer squashSweet potatoes

    Moderately sensitiveSnap beansMusk melonsPeppersWinter squashTomatoesWatermelons

  • Ethylene

    Ethylene ProducersApplesApricotsCantaloupesHoneydewPeachesPearsPlumsTomatoes

    Ethylene-sensitiveSnap beansBroccoliCabbageCucumbersEggplantLettucePeasPotatoes

  • Lettuce

    32 degrees95% humidityVacuum cooling or forced air coolingSensitive to ethyleneSensitive to freezingWill store for two-three weeks

  • Broccoli

    32 degrees95-100% relative humidityIce-coolingWill store for 2 weeks

  • Tomatoes

    46-50 degrees90-95% relative humidityRoom cooling or forced air coolingWill store for 1 week

  • 7. Storage CropsSeason extensionHome useRoot cellarsCoolersIn-groundCuring

  • Cold and Moist32-40 degreesF and 90-95% RH

    CarrotsBeetsParsnipsRutabagaTurnipsCeleryCeleriacSalsifyLeeksCollardsKohlrabiBroccoli (short-term)

  • Cold and Moist32-40 degrees F and 80-90%RH


  • Cool and Moist40-50 degrees and 80-90% RH

    CucumbersSweet peppersCantaloupeWatermelonEggplantRipe tomatoes

  • Cool and Dry32-50 degrees F and 60-70% RH

    GarlicOnionsGreen soybeans

  • Moderately Warm and Dry50-60 degrees F and 60-70% RH

    Dry hot peppersPumpkinsWinter squashSweet potatoesGreen tomatoes

  • Resources

    Peaceful Valley Farm SupplyGrangeQuality Maintenance of Mixed

    Kansas Sate University