Improving Mechanical Harvesting of Fresh-Market Blueberries

Abbey Taylor Berries, Labor, Technology, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Fumiomi Takeda The growth of the blueberry industry in the past three decades has been remarkably robust. For the blueberry industry to remain competitive and sustainable, growers are seeking solutions to ever-increasing problems with labor shortages and rising labor costs for harvesting blueberries by hand. More growers are now using over-the-row (OTR) mechanical harvesters to pick blueberries for the …

Putting Florida Peaches in the Spotlight

Abbey Taylor Peaches, Stone Fruit, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

Believe it or not, many consumers and retailers do not know that peaches are grown in Florida. However, thanks to a Specialty Crop Block Grant, the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation (FSCF) and Fresh From Florida (FFF) are working to raise awareness of Florida peaches. FSCF initially received the grant in 2017. After two successful seasons, the grant has been extended …

Improving Orchard Soil with Cover Crops

Abbey Taylor Organic, Research, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Ali Sarkhosh and Danielle Treadwell Most Florida orchards display low soil fertility. The soil is highly susceptible to erosion, low in organic matter content and, therefore, low in water-holding capacity and nitrate retention. Low organic matter content in the soil is associated with sub-optimal plant development due to a reduction in annual nutrient consumption and therefore total nutrient content …

The State of Organic Vegetable Production in Southern Georgia

Abbey Taylor Organic, Top Posts, Vegetables, VSCNews magazine

By Timothy Coolong Southern Georgia is a powerhouse for wholesale fresh-market vegetable production. The vegetable industry in Georgia was valued at over $1 billion in 2015, with more than 170,000 acres in production, according to the University of Georgia’s 2015 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report. SIZE AND SCOPE The vegetable industry in southern Georgia is also extremely diversified, with more …

Pest and Disease Management for Organic Squash

Abbey Taylor Organic, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Elizabeth Little Organic vegetable production has been steadily increasing in Georgia. Growers offer a wide variety of high-quality produce, especially during the cooler months from October to June. However, summer production can be challenging due to the proliferation of pests and diseases on non-adapted crops. Both summer and winter squash can be plagued by many pests and diseases, and …

Sneak Peek: September VSCNews Magazine

Abbey Taylor Sneak peek, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

The September issue of VSCNews magazine is packed with harvest-related information. University of Florida (UF) researchers Jeff Brecht and Steve Sargent provide the best methods for tuning up your packing and cooling facilities. The authors share some tips to ensure your product can flow smoothly through your facility. Florida watermelons faced a tough season, but higher market prices may save …

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Organic Certification: Navigating the Red Tape

Abbey Taylor Organic, Top Posts, VSCNews magazine

By Abbey Taylor and Ernie Neff U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) official Jennifer Tucker declares organic agriculture to be “a terrific opportunity for farmers and consumers.” “It is a growing market with a lot of great potential,” says Tucker, associate deputy administrator for the USDA’s National Organic Program. The USDA has provided guidelines for farmers and handlers interested in obtaining …