University of California

Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course

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2021 Virtual Course Information


We will be offering this course and an optional tour virtually. The course will be every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Pacific time, from June 3 to 24. With special virtual pricing of $1400 ($1000 off the in-person course price). The virtual tour will be June 29, 30, and July 1 and registration is only additional $100!

We also have an even more substantial discount for both the course and tour for students and residents of developing countries (email Pam Devine for details); you don’t want to miss out!

This course is a four-week intensive study of the latest technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables and ornamentals in California, and the underlying biology principals. 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. 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.



Optional Virtual Field Tour

The tour will highlight strawberry quality control and forced-air cooling, leafy green harvest and processing, food safety protocols, produce sensing and sorting technologies, citrus fruit sorting, de-greening and packaging, preparing produce for air shipment, and more. The course runs June 3 through 24 with Live Sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings (Pacific time) and the tour will be June 29, 30 and July 1 (mornings). Visit our registration page for more information.


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. We will ask for questions to be submitted during the week and will answer the most relevant during the live sessions.

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 (2021)

Starting Thursday June 3, for 4 weeks from 8am-12pm PDT. The week before the live sessions, participants will receive access to a set of pre-recorded presentations.

 Study Week Live Session
May 27 June 3
June 1 June 8 & June 10
June 8 June 15 & June 17
June 15 June 22 & June 24
Optional Virtual Tour June 29, 30 & July 1
Click here for detailed agenda
Enrollment Fee (2021)
Enrollment  Regular Price With optional virtual tour
Regular $1,400 $1,500
Students & Developing Country Participants* $500 $525

*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 you are unable to pay by credit card, please contact Pam Devine at

Refund Policy (2021)

For cancellation requests received via email on or before May 26, 2021: Reimbursement of registration fees paid less $100 USD administrative fee.

Registration substitution or transfers must be approved by class administrator and can be requested before May 26, 2021

In the unlikely event that this program is canceled or postponed due to insufficient enrollments or unforeseen circumstances, the Postharvest Technology Center will fully refund registration fees.

For inquiries, contact Pam Devine at

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

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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