University of California

Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course

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A decision has not been made as to whether the 2021 course will be held in person on the UC Davis campus or will be offered virtually as in 2020.  It is more likely to be virtual.

If in person, there will be two registration options:

One Week (lectures and demonstrations on the UC Davis Campus, June 14-18) or Two Weeks (One week course plus one week tour, June 14-25).

If virtual, we will use a similar format to the 2020 course. See details below.

2020 Virtual Course Information

The 2020 course is a great opportunity to upgrade your knowledge and skills at a significantly lower price!

This course is a seven-week intensive study of the latest technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables and ornamentals in California, and the underlying biology principals. The new, interactive, virtual format will include pre-recorded video presentations, weekly live overview, highlights and Q&A sessions with instructors, demonstrations, produce experiments, and break-out discussions.

The course is designed for produce handlers, quality control personnel, service companies, research and extension workers, and business, government or academic professionals interested in current advances in produce handling, storage, transportation, safety and marketing.

Short Course Format

The interactive, virtual format will include pre-recorded video presentations, weekly live overview, highlights and Q&A sessions with instructors, demonstrations, produce experiments (demonstrations and homework), and break-out discussions.

Topics Included

  • An overview of the postharvest biology of horticultural crops
  • Maturity and maturity indices, measuring quality
  • Safety factors, including COVID-19 issues
  • Harvesting systems, preparation for market, packinghouse facilities and equipment, packaging, containers, and unitization
  • Cooling prior to shipment: methods, evaluation of efficiency
  • Storage: methods, facilities, equipment, management of environmental conditions including controlled atmospheres
  • Ethylene: treatments, exclusion and removal
  • Transport: systems, loading patterns, environmental control, use of modified atmospheres
  • Sanitation and other procedures related to decay and insect control; food safety assurance
  • Standardization and inspection, quality evaluation and control
  • Energy use in postharvest technology procedures
  • Harvesting and postharvest handling systems for various commodity groups
  • Marketing fresh produce: socioeconomic and environmental considerations
  • An overview of current postharvest research at the University of California

Format and Dates (2020)

Each Thursday, for 7 weeks starting June 11, participants will receive access to a set of pre-recorded presentations. The Live Zoom Session for those presentations will occur on the following Wednesday from 8 to 12 Pacific Daylight Time.

 Study Week Live Session
1. June 11-17 June 17
2. June 18-24 June 24
3. June 25 - July 1 July 1
4. July 2-8 July 8
5. July 9-15 July 15
6. July 16-22 July 22
7. July 23-29 July 29
Enrollment Fee (2020)
Enrollment Early-Bird Price*  Regular Price
Regular $1,000 $1,400
Students & Developing Country Participants** $500 $500

*Through May 31st

**If you feel you are eligible for this discount, please email Pam Devine at for more information

The enrollment fee includes access to view pre-recorded videos of all topics and demonstrations, weekly live interactive Zoom meetings with instructors, digital postharvest textbook (English or Spanish) and PDF copies of all presentations.

If Your Plans Change (2020)

Refunds, less a $100 processing fee, will be granted if requested no later than June 8, 2020. At that time, you can also discuss substitutions. We reserve the right to modify the agenda as needed.

Elizabeth Jeanne Mitcham

Dr. Elizabeth Jeanne Mitcham 

Beth Mitcham received a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. She joined the University of California at Davis in 1992, and currently serves as Director of the Postharvest Technology Center and as Associate Director of the Horticulture Collaborative Research Program, promoting horticulture in developing countries. Dr. Mitcham leads an applied and fundamental research program focused on improving the quality of fruit for US consumers and the viability of the California produce industry. She works closely with the fruit industry in California to develop strategies for maintaining postharvest quality of fruit, especially apples, sweet cherries, pears, berries, pomegranates and nut crops.

For more information on technical content, please contact:

Dr Elizabeth Jeanne Mitcham
Title: Director, Postharvest Center
Department of Plant Sciences,
One Shields Avenue
1047 Wickson Hall
Davis, CA 95616-8683
Phone: (530) 752-7512

For more registration information, please contact:

Pam Devine
Title: Administrative Officer
One Shields Avenue
3047 Wickson Hall
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: 530-752-6941



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