University of California

Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course

Our 2020 Course will be offered Virtually using an interactive format.

Details on dates and pricing will be available soon.

We encourage you to register worry-free! If the course must be canceled in the future, we will process a full refund.

Lectures & Demonstrations  

Lectures & Demonstrations

+ Industry Site Visits

June 15-19, 2020

One-week Enrollment


June 15-19, 2020 (lectures)

June 22-26, 2020 (site visits)

Two-week Enrollment

Who Should Attend

Postharvest Short Course of Horticultural Crops
This course is a two-week intensive study of the biology and current technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables and ornamentals in California. It is designed for research and extension workers, quality control personnel in the produce industry, and business, government or academic professionals interested in current advances in the postharvest technology of horticultural crops.

It is particularly of interest to technical professionals responsible for quality assurance, research and extension activities related to fresh produce quality, safety and marketability. The lecture plus field trip option is limited to 40 participants, and the lecture-only option is limited to 45 participants. Enrollment will be handled on a first-paid, first-enrolled basis.


Topics included

  • An overview of the postharvest biology of horticultural crops
  • Maturity and maturity indices, measuring quality
  • Safety factors
  • 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

Short Course Format

The first week (Monday through Friday) is spent on intensive lectures and discussions as well as hands-on laboratory sessions on the UC Davis campus. The optional second week (Monday through Friday) is an extensive field tour covering a wide variety of postharvest operations. Facilities last year included selected packinghouses, cooling and storage facilities, produce distribution centers, field harvest operations, packing, and transportation facilities in various locations in central and coastal California. A prerequisite for attendance on the field tour is attendance at the first week of the short course. The tour’s first stop is in Sacramento, then the bus travels as far south as Bakersfield, continues west towards the Salinas and Monterey area, and then the final stops are in the San Francisco/Oakland area. The bus then returns participants to the UC Davis campus.

Week 1: Lectures + Labs on UC Davis Campus

Participants are responsible for their own housing (reservations and payment) during the first week of the course.

Davis has a fine selection of lodging options available. Please see the Yolo County Visitors' Guide for more information. The accommodations within easy walking distance of the campus are:

Davis Lodging Note: In order to ensure adequate lodging for our participants, we have reserved blocks of rooms at the Hyatt Place, Best Western Palm Court, and the University Park Inn and Suites. We encourage you to make your lodging reservations as quickly as possible due to graduation and numerous other activities in the Davis area. Be sure to mention that you are with the "Postharvest Technology Short Course" when you call to make your reservation. For more hotel information, visit our Welcome to Davis page.

Week 2: California Postharvest Field Tour

Hotel accommodations for the field tour are pre-arranged by Postharvest Technology Center staff. This additional charge must be paid at the time of enrollment, the amount depends upon whether single or double accommodations are selected.

Note: Field tour lodging payments are not refundable after May 15, 2020. At this time, you may discuss sending a substitute.

Enrollment Information

Date and Time

Week One : June 15–19, 2020

Week Two: June 22–26, 2020


UC Davis Conference Center

Enrollment Fee (2020)


Enrollment Price
One-week $2,400
Two-week $3,350

The 1-week enrollment fee includes all classroom instruction, lab activities, course materials, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, Monday - Friday lunches, and one networking dinner. The enrollment to the 1-week, lecture-only section is limited to 70 participants.

The 2-week enrollment fee includes all week one activities, plus field tour transportation and continental breakfasts Monday through Friday during the tour, as well as a networking reception in Visalia. Enrollment in the 2-week section of this Short Course is limited to 40 participants. An additional lodging fee is required for 2-week participants.

If participating in the week two field tour, please discuss departure plans prior to tour as the week ends in San Francisco. Departure plans can accommodate leaving from San Francisco rather than Sacramento.

Enrollments are requested no later than June 15, 2020. Reservations are made on a first-paid, first-enrolled basis. A waiting list will be available for additional registrants. For the 2-week enrollments, a late fee of $100 will be added if registering after June 15, 2020.

All-Inclusive Package (2020)

For the convenience of our international and business participants, we are pleased to offer an all-inclusive package that includes the course enrollment fee, airport transfers, hotel accommodations and a cash food allowance starting at $4235 for One Week  and $6520 for Two Week. If you are interested in this limited offer, please contact Dena Gilday by May 1, 2020 at 530-752-3006 or A late fee of $500 will be added if registering for an all-inclusive package after June 15, 2020.

If Your Plans Change (2020)

Refunds, less a $200 processing fee, will be granted if requested no later than May 15, 2020. At that time, you can also discuss sending a substitute. We reserve the right to discontinue, postpone, or combine classes, and to change instructors. Every effort will be made to notify enrollees of any changes or cancellations.

Accommodations & Parking

Campus Bike Rental. The UC Davis campus is one of the largest in the University of California system (5,300 acres). The UC Davis Bike Barn offers rental bicycles to help speed your navigation around campus. Located in downtown Davis, Ken's Bike & Ski also offers bike rentals on a weekly basis, with extended business hours, including Saturday and Sunday.

Internet Access. Postharvest Short Course participants will be provided access to a non-secured campus guest wireless account. The UC Davis campus has a number of wireless hot spots, including the ARC where we'll be meeting the first week, as well as the Segundo Dining Commons, the Memorial Union, and Shields Library.

Parking. A valid UC Davis parking permit is required to park on campus. Daily permits may be purchased for $10 at kiosks near the entrance of the parking lot. Please notify the registration coordinator if you will be parking a vehicle on campus during the week of the field tour.

Air Travel. The closest airport to Davis is Sacramento International (a 25 minute drive); we encourage the 2-week participants to use this airport as the Field Tour bus completes its route at the UC Davis campus.

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 J. Mitcham
Title: Director, Postharvest Center
Department of Plant Sciences,
One Shields Avenue
1047 Wickson Hall
Davis, CA 95616-8683
Phone: (530) 752-7512
Fax: 530-752-6746

For more registration information, please contact:

Pam Devine
Title: Administrative Officer
Phone: 530-752-6941



Webmaster Email: