Horticultural Sciences Department

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Issue No. 610

The Vegetarian Newsletter 

A Horticultural Sciences Department Extension Publication on 
Vegetable and Fruit Crops 

Eat your Veggies and Fruits!!!!!

Publish Date: 
March 2016

Annual Stone Fruit Field Day

April 19th, 2016

Mercy Olmstead, Stone Fruit Extension Specialist, Gainesville, FL

Join us for the annual stone fruit field day to be held at the Frank Stronach Conference Center, at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, FL from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

We are excited to have Chalmers Carr, owner of Titan Farms, the largest peach operation east of the Mississippi River to speak about opportunities and challenges in the southeastern peach industry.

Are you or your clientele thinking of diversifying into peach production? Dr. Ariel Singerman will be presenting an updated orchard establishment and production budget for Florida peach orchards.  Once you have a crop, selling it is the next challenge, but where is the best place to market it? Gathering data on current marketing avenues is the focus of a clicker survey presented by Dr. Joy Rumble, lead PI on a funded project to develop marketing strategies for our industry.

The Florida Peach Marketing Order failed to gather enough votes in January; however, what are the next steps to unify the industry? Mercy Olmstead will present some options for moving forward.

Finally, as in previous years, CEU credits for general pesticide credit will be offered through a series of presentations on Sri Lankan Weevil, potential nematode resistant peach rootstocks, and preliminary results of an ongoing Florida nematode survey and field studies on effective herbicide programs.

Thanks to our generous donors, Maxijet, Carden and Associates, BudPro, and Island Grove Ag Products, coffee, pastries and lunch will be free for all attendees. Please register by April 12th, 2016 at: http://tinyurl.com/zcsttj6


9:30-10:00 AM       Registration and Welcome (Coffee and Pastries)
10:00-10:30 AM      Peach Production Challenges and Opportunities
                              Chalmers Carr, Titan Farms
10:30-10:50 AM      Critical Bud Temperatures in Peach
                              Elizabeth Conlan, M.S. Student
10:50-11:10 AM      Budgeting for Success: Florida Peach Establishment & Production                            Ariel Singerman, Assistant Professor, UF Food & Resource     
                              Economic Dept.

11:10-11:25 AM      BREAK
11:25-11:45 AM      Marketing Peaches - Current Avenues and Future Opportunities
                              Joy Rumble, Assistant Professor, UF Agriculture Education &
                              Comm. Dept.

11:45-12:00 PM      What's Next? Establishing a Florida Peach Growers' Association
                              Mercy Olmstead, Assistant Professor, UF Horticultural Sciences
12:00-1:00 PM       LUNCH
1:00-1:25 PM         Results of a Nematode Survey in Florida Peach Orchards
                              Janete Brito, Nematologist, FDACS-Division of Plant Industry
1:25-1:45 PM         Evaluation of New Nematode-Resistant Rootstocks for Peach
                              Production in Florida
                              Mary Ann Maquilan, Ph.D. Candidate, UF
1:45-2:15 PM         Sri-Lankan Weevil: A New Pest for Peaches?
                              Ronald Cave, Professor, Entomology & Nematology, UF IRREC,
                              Ft. Pierce, FL

2:15-2:35 PM         RosBREED: A Project Combining Disease Resistance and   
                              Horticultural Quality
                              Mercy Olmstead, Assistant Professor, UF Horticultural Sciences
2:35-3:30 PM         Field Tour of Research Plots

Oriental Fruit Fly Quarantine in Miami-Dade County Ends Successfully

Jeff Wasielewski, Commercial Tropical Fruit Extension Agent, Miami-Dade County, UF/IFAS Extension

Sometime before dawn on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, a fruit fly quarantine went into effect in a 99-square mile area around Homestead, FL which included packinghouses, tropical fruit groves, vegetable fields, fruit stands, plant nurseries, businesses and homes. The quarantine was serious business, and Miami-Dade’s $1.6 billion agricultural industry was at stake.

The quarantine did not stop all movement of fruits and vegetables, but it did slow the movement, as strict and specific rules went into place to stop the Oriental fruit fly from escaping the quarantine area.

The quarantine went into effect 24 hours after a public announcement was placed in The Miami Herald, and was prompted by Florida Rule 5B-66, which states “State and federal agricultural officials are mandated to keep the Oriental fruit fly out of this country. Wherever Oriental fruit flies are found in the continental U.S., the pest must be eradicated.”

An avocado grove that was already suffering from laurel wilt

An avocado grove that was already suffering from laurel wilt (Photo credit: Jeff Wasielewski)

Background Information

At any given time, tens of thousands of traps lie waiting throughout Florida with the sole purpose of alerting the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to the presence of the Oriental Fruit fly and other invasive and destructive species of fruit flies. There have been at least seven previous Oriental fruit fly finds and subsequent eradications in Florida before the 2015 Oriental fruit fly finds.

The Oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, is taken extremely seriously because the species has a massive host list of over 400 plants (most of South Florida’s fruit crops, many of our fruiting vegetables, and some ornamental plants that produce fruit); they may be the strongest fliers of all the fruit flies, and one female fly lays an average of 600 eggs in 30 days. According to Mark Fagan, the public information specialist of the Division of Plant Industry, a specialized division within FDACS, 30% of females can push out a whopping 50 eggs in a single day, or 1,500 eggs in 30 days.

Females lay their eggs in host fruit or vegetables, then the young hatch and feed on the fruit, effectively making the fruit impossible to sell and unpalatable. The larvae then enter the soil below them, pupate, and emerge as flies to begin the cycle yet again.

This fly has the power to completely devastate the agricultural industry in South Florida. If it were to become established, harsh regulations would go into effect that would cripple the industry by not allowing exports, or fruit and vegetable movement, as well as eliminate or threaten thousands upon thousands of jobs.

Past finds of the Oriental fruit fly did not trigger quarantines because the number of flies was minimal with the previous high being 12 males and 4 females found in Tampa in 1999.

The Homestead, FL invasion of 2015 was markedly different because of the extraordinary quantity of flies captured. After finding a lone male fly in a trap on August 17 outside of the quarantine area, FDACS later found an alarming 45 male flies in a single trap on August 28. The historic 45-fly find was located in the heart of our agricultural industry in South Florida. Male flies are the first to be captured because the traps use a bait that tricks the male into thinking he is near a receptive female.

Enhanced trapping and scouting soon turned up even more males, as well as a mango fruit infested with Oriental fruit fly larvae. In one of the first Oriental fruit fly workshops hosted by Miami-Dade Extension, Co-incident Commander Bryan Benson, of FDACS, called these finds, “an unprecedented amount of Oriental fruit flies…with the capacity to devastate the local agricultural industry”.

Extension and the Industry Respond

The response from the agricultural industry was tremendous as they poured into the Miami-Dade County Extension office to attend one or more of 11 workshops dedicated to educating the industry. Well over 1,000 growers, nurserymen, landscapers, homeowners, and industry clientele attended these meetings just so they could do the right thing, and help to stop the fly from spreading.

A young mango grove that had to comply with the quarantine rules

A young mango grove that had to comply with the quarantine rules (Photo credit: Jeff Wasielewski)

An End to the Quarantine

The Oriental fruit fly quarantine ended on February 13, 2016, along with the restrictive rules and regulations put in place when the quarantine began.

The last Oriental fruit fly was found on October 10, 2015, and the quarantine end date marked the end of three full life cycles of the fly without finding a single Oriental fruit fly in the numerous traps strategically placed throughout the quarantine area. Protocol required no flies to be found for three life cycles of the fly.

This was an extremely difficult time for the entire agriculture industry in South Florida. Huge amounts of money and crops were sacrificed for the greater good and the final goal of eradicating the fruit fly. I personally commend everyone involved in this process, especially the growers, farmers and nurserymen who lost crops and income, and I want to thank everyone who worked so incredibly hard and long on the the Oriental Fruit Fly Eradication Program (OFF Program).

The OFF Program brought together the nationally recognized plant pests eradication expertise of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services–Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI) and USDA-APHIS-Plant Protection Quarantine, the University of Florida’s expertise in science-based information and outreach (extension), Miami-Dade County’s UF/IFAS Extension expertise in providing timely science-based information, and the Miami-Dade County government’s cooperation to assist the billion dollar Miami-Dade County agricultural industries. The collaboration and dedication of these agencies and institutions, along with the incredible response from the entire agricultural industry of South Florida were crucial in eradicating the Oriental fruit fly from South Florida.

The Homestead agricultural area is unlike any other on the planet. It is home to an incredible array of tropical fruit and vegetables, with crops as well known as avocados and squash, and as unique as sugar apples and winged beans. Vegetable fields and fruit groves are intermixed and produce crops side-by-side tended by people as varied and diverse as the very crops they grow. That one-of-a-kind diversity could have been lost if the Oriental fruit fly had permanently established itself, but thankfully, it did not.

A sweet corn field just inside of the quarantine area at sunrise (Photo credit: Jeff Wasielewski )


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act empowers the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace. In this context, sex describes the gender of a person, usually male or female.  It also is used to protect “sexual orientation” as the EEOC works toward more specific protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-Gender people (LGBT).

The EEOC definition of sexual harassment reads as follows:  

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature….Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, off-hand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).  Source:  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

The EEOC has jurisdiction over sexual harassment misconduct in the workplace which broadly covers any location where an employee is required to be or participate in a company function. For an agricultural operation, the workplace includes offices, fields, groves, warehouses, packing sheds,  a company bus, off-site meetings and training locations, and even a local restaurant where a company is sponsoring a holiday party.   Agriculture is a potentially dangerous place for victims of sexual harassment because crews of workers are often isolated, some may be undocumented and afraid of deportation, and often they are desperate to keep their jobs. 

Most cases of sexual harassment take place between men and women, but there are cases where harassment occurs between individuals of the same gender. Harassment can occur between supervisors and employees, among workers, or between individuals at the same management level.

Farm owners, managers, and supervisors need to take sexual harassment seriously.  This headline (available at: http://www1.eeoc.gov//eeoc/newsroom/release/9-10-15.cfm?renderforprint=1), from an EEOC press release September 10, 2015, is not one any company wants to see:

 “EEOC Wins Jury Verdict of over $17 Million for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation at Moreno Farms.  Florida Farm Managers Subjected Women Workers to Coerced Sex, Groping and Verbal Abuse, Then Fired Them for Objecting, Federal Agency Charged.

According to EEOC's suit, two sons of the owner of Moreno Farms and a third male supervisor engaged in graphic acts of sexual harassment against female workers in Moreno Farms' packaging house, including regular groping and propositioning, threatening female employees with termination if they refused the supervisors' sexual advances, and attempting to rape, and raping, multiple female employees.  All five women were ultimately fired for opposing the three men's sexual harass­ment.” 

Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is often considered the most grievous behavior within the protected classes.  Why? 

·         It is often committed against women, who are often more physically vulnerable than men.  

·         It takes an intimate experience between people and turns it into power.

·         It is often physical, as well as psychologically traumatizing. 

Groping, touching, and rape are obvious examples of sexual harassment. It is important to recognize, however, that sexual harassment can include:

·         Open display of sexually suggestive calendars, pictures or posers; cartoons or plastic dolls in compromising positions.

·         Visual behavior: looking a person up and down; staring; sexual gestures with eyes, tongue, hands or body; winking, throwing kisses, licking lips.

·         Words and sounds: Calling someone words like babe, honey, chica, macha; whistling, “tsst-tsst;” telling sexual jokes or stories; talking about your love life; asking about sexual fantasies or preferences or history; repeatedly asking someone out who is clearly not interested.

For people with a reasonable moral compass, they can “gut-check” sexual harassment by asking the following question:

·         How would I feel if someone did this to my mother, wife, sister, or daughter? Or more generally, parent, spouse, sibling, or child?

If you’re not sure or have to think about it, DON’T DO IT!  

What should the victim do?

·         Inform the harasser directly that their conduct is not welcome and must stop.

·         If the harassment does not stop immediately, document the facts. Keep detailed notes of what happened and who witnessed it. It doesn’t matter how they write it or what they write it on.  Written recollection of events in any form is admissible in court.  

·         Inform management, which should initiate an immediate investigation.  

What should the harasser do?

·         Stop the behavior immediately. 

·         Apologize and let the victim know it will not happen again. 

Note:  Never follow an apology with an excuse.   “I’m sorry I was touching your face and hair but I couldn’t help it because you are so beautiful” is NOT an apology. 

·         If you think you are being falsely accused, document the incident and tell the human resource manager about it.    

What should management NEVER do?

·         Never dismiss or ignore a compliant.  Examples of dismissing or ignoring the problem:  “Oh, Johnny is just having fun.  There’s no harm in it,” or “She’s exaggerating.  She’s asking for it and then blaming him,” or “It’s no big deal.  We have work to do. Let’s get to it.”

·         Never retaliate against someone who complains or someone who stands up for a victim. Retaliation means more than firing someone. Retaliation might include assigning more difficult work, moving them to less productive blocks, depriving them of training opportunities, cutting their pay or firing them. 

Employers and supervisors need to clearly communicate to everyone a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.  They should also provide sexual harassment training to all employees, establish a complaint process, and follow up immediately when someone complains.

Authors:   Thissen, C.; and F. Roka.  

Carlene Thissen and Fritz Roka work for the University of Florida at the Southwest Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL, 239-658-3400.  carlene@ufl.edu, fmroka@ufl.edu


The Farm Labor Supervisor (FLS) Training Program is a University of Florida/IFAS Extension program. Begun in 2010, the program is coordinated by Fritz Roka and Carlene Thissen at the Southwest Florida Research & Education Center.  In the past, attendees were awarded Certificates of Attendance and of Certificates of Completion if they attended the core classes.  

NEW!   CERTIFICATE OF FARM LABOR MANAGEMENT:  In 2014, a new program was introduced that allows participants to earn a Certificate of Farm Labor Management.   The objective behind this certificate is to enhance the professional stature of those farm labor supervisors who complete the program and successfully manage farm workers in accordance with all associated rules and regulations.   To achieve the Certificate of Farm Labor Management, a total of eight (8) classes are required, and attendees must pass a test administered at the end of each class.  Three (3) of those classes must be Wage & Hour, Human Resource Compliance, and one class related to worker safety.  The remaining five classes will be the choice of the individual.  Times and locations of classes offered in 2016 will be posted at www.swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu , along with registration information. 

Topics are taught at several locations across Florida and in partnership with county extension faculty.  These topics cover laws that keep farm workers safe, fairly paid, and in a working environment free from discrimination and harassment.  The program is offered in both English and Spanish. If there is sufficient interest, individual classes of combinations of classes can be arranged at times and locations convenient for the participants. We also provide training at grower locations that incorporates grower-specific policies and procedures.  For more information, contact Carlene Thissen, 239-658-3449, carlene@ufl.edu or Fritz Roka, 239-658-3428. 

2016 annual meeting. florida state horticulture society: june 12-14

In-Service Training: #30946

Innovative Genetics and Breeding Approaches to Address Critical Issues for Florida Horticultural & Agronomic Crops

June 14, 2016

1:30 – 5:30 PM

Keynote Lunch Speaker: Dr. Dave Clark, Environmental Horticulture Department.
UF/IFAS Plant Breeding: Basics for understanding what we do, why we do it, and how we do it

1:30 – 1:45

Welcome and Pretest

1.45 – 2:15

Marker-Assisted Selection in Breeding

James Olmstead, UF Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville, FL

2:15 – 2:45

Genetic Approaches for Improvement in UF/IFAS Sweet Sorghum Breeding Program

Sanyukta Shukla, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Microbiology and Cell Science Department, Gainesville, FL

2:45 – 3:15

Propagating Native Species to Protect Wild Ecosystems

Mack Thetford, Environmental Horticulture Department, WFREC, Milton, FL

3:15 – 3:30


3:30 – 4:00

Controlling Establishment of Non-native Species

Zhanao Deng, Environmental Horticulture Department, GCREC, Balm, FL

4:00 – 4:30


4:30 – 5:00

Developing Non-conventional Crops for Florida

Jose Chaparro, Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville, FL

Application of Genetic and Breeding Techniques for Disease Resistance

Jude Grosser, Horticultural Sciences Department, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL

5:00-5:15Post-test and conclusion

New Technology for Commercial Crop Production (IV) IST Summary

G. David Liu1, Frederick Fishel2, and Kelly Morgan3

1Horticultural Sciences Department, 2Agronomy Department, and Soil and 3Water Science Department, IFAS, University of Florida

The carbon footprint calculator and other new concepts and techniques have been developed to help farmers make informed decisions about crop management. These new techniques can improve profitability for Florida’s crop producers and help conserve natural resources. To provide an opportunity for our extension agents and graduate students to learn these new techniques, two out-state and three IFAS extension specialists were invited to present their recent work at the New Technology for Commercial Crop Production IST training on February 24, 2016. The speakers described their presentations as below:

Dr. Dewayne Ingram from the University of Kentucky: Horticultural crop producers and marketers are seeking increasingly sustainable practices. A sustainable system is often described as being environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. With a maturing nursery industry, economic sustainability is important and the industry has traditionally sought ways to minimize environmental impact of production. Social sustainability is revealed by purchases by the consumer. Understanding the environmental impact of production system protocols could allow managers to make informed decisions to increase efficiency, reduce potentially negative impacts, and reduce the associated variable costs. Understanding the ecosystem services of landscape plants could provide information to help market these products to increasingly environmentally-conscious consumers.

Dr. Annette Wszelaki from the University of Tennessee: Season extension techniques, such as high tunnels and mulches, can enhance the yield and quality of fruits and vegetables, protect crops from climatic extremes, help in transitioning from conventional to organic production, provide a source of locally grown food year-round, and increase economic sustainability for many fruit and vegetable growers.  However, the use of polyethylene plastic raises concern about the environmental sustainability of these highly productive cropping systems. Biodegradable mulches have been available for decades, but have not yet taken hold in the market. We will talk about new developments in biodegradable mulches and making the most of high tunnel space.

Dr. Oscar Liburd: This presentation includes four aspects: (1) A review of the types of damage that mites inflict on strawberry plants; (2) Traditional strategies that are used for monitoring and managing mites in strawberry fields; (3) New technology and tactics that his lab are investigating for managing mites; (4) Benefits of adopting these new tactics for mite management in strawberry production.

Dr. Kelly Morgan: Soil and tissue testing has long been recognized as an Agricultural Best Management Practice for the improvement of nutrient use efficiency. Management of nutrients in Florida’s sandy soils is particularly difficult with leaching from excessive irrigation and rainfall. The University of Florida has recently changed its nutrient recommendations from a Mehlich 1 based index to an index based on Mehlich 3 results. The use of these improved index values should lead to greatly improved nutrient management for a wider range of soil conditions. Additionally, use of commercial lab tissue tests for perennial crops and sap testing for short term crops have improved and will be discussed.

Dr. Guodong Liu: As one of 14 states predicted to face “high risk” water shortages by year 2050, Florida needs to use water more efficiently and find more water sources. Central Florida alone has to find an additional 200 × 106 gal/day to meet the needs by 2030. That requires conservation in agriculture because crop production is a major water consumer. Seepage irrigation is the common irrigation approach for potato production in Florida and uses up to 38 inches irrigation water per growing season. Based on research data, there is a great potential to save irrigation water by converting seepage to center-pivot irrigation. Center-pivot irrigation can save more than 50% of irrigation water. During the last three consecutive potato-growing seasons, a sum of one billion gallons of irrigation water was saved on the research trials.

The objective of this IST was to introduce new concepts and techniques to our extension agents and graduate students for enhancing the economic and environmental sustainability for commercial crop production in Florida. This IST training and CEU roundup were conducted face to face in Gainesville and video conferenced to nine local host sites statewide. The presentations are accessible from Dr. Liu’s website at the hyperlinks below.

Dr. Dewayne Ingram (from the University of Kentucky), Carbon Footprint and Ecosystem Services During the Life Cycle of Landscape Plants

Dr. Annette Wszelaki (from the University of Tennessee), Extending Your Growing Season with High Tunnels and Biodegradable Mulches

Dr. Oscar E. Liburd, What We Have Accomplished in Twospotted Spider Mite Management and Where We Are Going with the Technology

Dr. Kelly T. Morgan, Use of Soil and Tissue Testing for Sustainable Crop Nutrient Programs

Dr. Guodong Liu, How Much Water Can We Save for Potato Production by Using Center Pivot Irrigation?

More information can be found at http://hos.ufl.edu/faculty/gdliu/service-training



The UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Extension Team


is proud to present the

Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Fort Myers

Strengthening Local Food Systems with Diversity

April 1st: Farm to Table, Buckingham Farms

April 2nd: Conference Sessions, Holiday Inn @ Town Center

 Pre-Conference events on Friday April 1st from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm

  • Bus tour of four area urban farms
  • Field Workshops at ECHO Farm, internationally recognized for their support of technology & diversified small farming

Kick-off event at Buckingham Farms from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

  • Optional farm-to-table banquet celebration with locally-grown foods
  • Keynote Speakers
  • Taste of Florida Beverages, and Music & Dancing

Conference Sessions at the Holiday Inn on Saturday April 2nd from 7:30 am to 5:20 pm

  • Sixteen educational sessions ranging from Agri-Tourism, Integrated Pest Management, Marketing, Financing, Cottage Foods, Food Policies and More!!
  • Farmer, industry, and Extension instructors share what works
  • Trade Show with agricultural vendors and educational organizations
  • Plenty of Networking opportunities


Register online at: www.smallfarmsconf.eventbrite.com

Early Bird Registration fee is $90 until March 21, and $100 after that.

Registration includes refreshments, lunch, and educational materials.

An educational event for Florida fruit and vegetable producers and

stakeholders of Florida local food systems


The Regional Small Farms Conference will provide a great networking space and share practical farming knowledge that can help farmers across the region. This two-day event promises lots of learning opportunities for everyone, from the prospective or beginner farmers to those most experienced and from rural to urban settings. Come, network and learn with other farmers, IFAS Extension and Research Personnel and other industry representatives.

For More information, contact your UF/IFAS County Extension or call 352-294-1692