Topic: Keeping fresh fruit “fresh” after harvest.
Dr. Mark Ritenour is a Professor and plant physiologist with the University of Florida since 1998 and is stationed at Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, Florida. He specializes in the postharvest physiology and handling of fresh fruits and vegetables (primarily citrus) with Extension, research, and teaching programs focusing on improving pre- and postharvest practices to maximize delivered fresh fruit quality and ways to overcome potential market barriers (both domestic and international).
Mark coordinates the annual Packinghouse Day, and other training events and is active developing and providing grower/packer/shipper training in good food hygiene practices that assure consumers safe fruits and vegetables. He is a Lead Instructor for the Food Safety Preventive Control Alliance training curriculum and a trainer in the Produce Safety Alliance curriculum. He is co-instructor of two UF postharvest courses: 1) Principles of Postharvest Horticulture, and 2) Postharvest Technologies for Horticultural Crops. Finally, he created and maintains the UF Postharvest Resources Website (http://irrec.ifas.ufl.edu/postharvest/) that includes links to numerous postharvest resources.
Bachelor of Science degree in Botany/Plant Physiology from California State University, Fresno in 1989
Master of Science from UC Davis in Vegetable Crops, 1991
Ph.D. from UC Davis in Integrated Plant and Crop Physiology, 1995
Our meetings include an educational program, a plant auction, plant raffle, and a tasting table of fruit in season. Please bring any extra fruit from your garden to share and give people a chance to experience new tastes and know what fruit they might want to grow.
Past TCRFC president Mike Luciano owner of Trees N More tropical fruit nursery (in Palm City just west of Stuart) will be grafting a hundred Carambola (Starfruit) trees this week. He will bring some to our meeting and demonstrate how to graft, first to the whole group then for smaller groups. Mike specializes in tropical fruit trees; you won’t find a better place to get your trees in the treasure coast.
UPDATE: Grafting success!
UPDATE: Dr. Rezazadeh had a change of schedule and must now attend a required training session for work on the 19th. See the latest post for our new speaker.
Our speaker in September is Dr. Amir Rezazadeh, PhD. His presentation will be on Passion Fruit and other berries.
Dr. Rezazadeh is the Multi-County Fruit and Field Crops Agent II. Before his appointment with the UF/IFAS Extension, he worked as a post-doctoral associate with Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center. There, Rezazadeh worked alongside fruit growers to improve yield and post-harvest sustainability for blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and grapes. He holds a Ph.D. in horticulture from Mississippi State University; his doctorate work focused on the influence of environmental factors and cultural practices in the development of greenhouse crops. After he completed a master’s degree in horticulture, he oversaw more than 100 acres of grapefruit and mandarin trees and managed 10 employees for more than five years.
Bobbi Spencer, TCRFC Founder, Past President, and Master Gardener will give a presentation on the best tropical and subtropical fruit to grow here in the Treasure Coast.
Bring any of your extra fruit or edible treats for our tasting table, and plants or garden items for the raffle.
Members can bring up to 3 plants for the auction.
Our speaker in July is Louise King, horticulturist at the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead. The topic is Mangos and other Stars of the Park. This is Louise’s second visit. She also helped us get fruit for our Taste of the Tropics events this year and last.
The Fruit & Spice park, a 37 acre county park is a Florida treasure with an extensive collection of mature fruit trees, along with herb and vegetable gardens. Our club has visited the F&S Park as a group several times; it is worth a trip anytime, and especially during one of their many events.
Ms. King is a Redland resident and tropical fruit grower for more than 20 years. Louise has had a career dedicated to the enjoyment of the natural world. Prior to coming to the Fruit & Spice Park, Louise worked with the National Park Service, serving in Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, and most recently at Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of Maryland.
BTW, this year’s Taste of the Tropics at the PSL Botanical garden had the best attendance ever! People got to try many unusual fruits including several varieties of mango, white sapote, jaboticaba, lychee, an excellent jackfruit from the F&S Park, plus Passion fruit-BBQ jackfruit and jackfruit curry. In addition, visitors were able to buy the fruit tree of their favorite tasting from club member Mike Luciano of Trees n’More nursery / Palm City right outside the pavilion. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the day a great success.
Check the events page for 3 mango festivals coming up–at Fruit & Spice Park this Saturday 6/29, at Fairchild Gardens on July 13 & 14th, and closer to home at Erickson Farms on July 21.
Update: Schedules change: Mike Meier of Ground Floor Farm had a Stuart city council meeting he had to attend in June; Jeff was unable to attend in May, so Larry Zimmerman took questions that month: Why did mangos do so poorly for many people this year? Partly due to the extended rainy weather during flowering which allowed anthracnose fungus to destroy the flowers. Usually a copper spray will stop the fungus, but when it rains every day, that washes the copper off. If it happened to your mangos you are not alone. Some varieties are more susceptible than others.
Our speaker in
May June was Jeff Schorner from Al’s Family Farms in Fort Pierce at the corner of N. King’s Hwy and Angle Road. Jeff spoke about growing oranges. We were all glad he was able to speak. He really knows oranges, and yes, there is hope that citrus will grow in Florida again: his farm is proof of that. Jeff also brought his son Matthew, just returned from South Africa where he studied their citrus agricultural practices.