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Posts Tagged: post harvest

Research aims to get people to eat right

A team of UC and University of Florida scientists have received a nearly $6 million grant from the USDA for a project designed to improve the flavor and texture of fruits and vegetables found in American grocery stores, according to reports of a variety of media outlets.

"The purpose of our project is to improve the flavor quality of fruits and vegetables that are available to consumers. With the ultimate goal of getting people to eat more," co-project leader Beth Mitcham told an ABC-affiliated reporter. Mitcham is a UC Davis Cooperative Extension post harvest pomologist.

The TV story was broadcast in Sacramento, Fresno and on the CNN website. Articles also appeared on the Sacramento Bee blog 'Appetizers' and in the Central Valley Business Times. The Sacramento Fox affiliate - KTXL Channel 40 - placed a story on its website and interviewed Mitcham in the studio during its morning program.

The story was originally written up by Diane Nelson of the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department for the UC Food Blog.

The Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) work began about a year ago. The researchers are studying the challenges growers, packers and shippers face in getting crops from the field to the market in a condition shoppers will buy. Slowing down the ripening process, changing handling procedures and determining how produce flavor is affected by harvest are are issues to be examined.

The ABC news story showed a researcher slicing samples of pears in a lab.

"What we want to do with these pears is we want to understand a bit more about their ripening biology," he said. "How they change from green to this lovely yellow, ripe, flavorful product."

Beth Mitcham at a farmers market.
Beth Mitcham at a farmers market.

Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Burning question answered by UC experts

When Newsday's Erica Marcus had a burning question about ripening fruit, she turned to UC Davis post harvest experts. Marcus writes a weekly column for the magazine's Web site that answers "burning questions" about food.

In the past, she's helped readers who want to avoid soggy stirfry, identify whole grains, and know exactly when to cover or uncover a pot cooking on the stove. This week, she answered for readers: "Which fruits ripen after they are picked - and why?"

"For the lowdown on ripening," she wrote, "I called the postharvest information center at the University of California, Davis, and the California Tree Fruit Agreement."

The next 300 words of her column give details about a complex process involving starch, sugar, and cell walls of pineapples, cherries, grapes, citrus fruits, berries, watermelon peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots, cantaloupe and honeydew.

Posted on Friday, June 20, 2008 at 10:37 AM
Tags: post harvest (3)

Sensory lab a Fresno Bee sensation

The new sensory laboratory at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center won high visibility over the weekend in a prominent story on the front page of the Fresno Bee business section. The new lab was dedicated in April and is the subject of the feature story for May.

Fresno Bee reporter Dennis Pollock wrote that sensory research mixes science with people's senses -- especially taste -- to come up with fruit that shoppers are more likely to enjoy.

"Such results will benefit not only the consumer but our agricultural industries," the article quoted Mary Lu Apaia, a UC Riverside sub tropical horticulturalist based at Kearney.

The story said the new lab takes the place of a "makeshift" facility with less than optimal conditions because of distracting sounds from cooling equipment and odors from fruit stored in a freezer.

"This is a people science. People [the tasters] are my instruments," it quoted staff research associate Sue Collin. "I don't want any distractions."

The Fresno Bee story included mention of all the commodity and grower groups who contributed cash to construct the new laboratory.

The new KREC sensory lab.
The new KREC sensory lab.

Posted on Monday, May 19, 2008 at 10:08 AM
Tags: post harvest (3)

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