Over 60 citrus industry representatives gathered Aug. 25 for the 61st annual Packinghouse Day at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. They heard updates on H-2A visa options for packinghouse workforce needs, an overview of citrus fruit export requirements and an update on food safety auditing. Faculty from UF/IFAS presented on the use of brassinosteroids to advance maturation on citrus fruit and the effectiveness of preharvest-applied fungicides and postharvest chlorine dioxide gas for reducing diplodia stem-end rot (SER) on fresh grapefruit.
Paul Mears, Florida Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP) coordinator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stressed that CHRP is partnering with industry to get product out safely. He emphasized the details of fresh fruit shipment procedures, the importance of attention to details and the need to observe existing memorandums of understanding between states and counties.
Fernando Alferez from the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center provided insights into the successful use of plant growth hormones to improve the internal quality of Valencia oranges.
Mark Ritenour from the UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center gave an update on a three-year study on grapefruit in which materials were applied pre-harvest to reduce post-harvest decay. There results indicated that Miravis Prime (not yet registered for grapefruit) consistently showed good reduction in diplodia SER control and appears to be a good candidate if it can be registered for grapefruit. He also discussed how chlorine dioxide gas has the potential to be included in a grapefruit postharvest decay control system to reduce diplodia SER.
A highlight of Packinghouse Day was the presentation of the John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Florida Citrus Packers honored Quentin J. Roe with its highest recognition. The award is reserved for individuals making sustained and outstanding contributions to Florida’s fresh citrus industry.
“Quentin’s love of Florida citrus and Florida specialty fruit is legendary,” said Peter Chaires, executive vice president of Florida Citrus Packers. “His career was built through hard work and tenacity, but also through relationship building and investing in others. Florida Citrus Packers congratulates him on this well-deserving award.”
Roe is known for his innovative marketing, packaging and merchandising expertise. He continually demonstrates a keen understanding of every aspect of fresh citrus production, packing, shipping and sales.
Active in various industry associations for decades, Roe has given his time and talents to serve as president of Florida Citrus Packers; board member and chairman of New Varieties Development & Management Corp.; board and executive committee member of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; and member of the Citrus Administrative Committee. He also previously served on the Florida Citrus Commission, beginning his term in 1991.
Sources: UF/IFAS and Florida Citrus Packers