Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2007
Publication Date: February 1, 2008
Citation: Perkins Veazie, P.M., Lester, G.E. 2008. Postharvest challenges for organically grown orchard fruit. HortScience. 43(1): 35-37.
Interpretive Summary: Organically produced fruit and vegetables continue to be in high demand by consumers for their perceived healthier properties. When considering a switch from conventional to organic fruit production, handling, and/or processing, normal good orchard practices, such as cleanliness and temperature management, must be followed. In addition, strict record keeping is essential and new details, such as choice of sanitizers, packing systems, and shelf life extenders, must be considered and followed. In this review, information is presented for growers and scientists who are transitioning from conventional to organic postharvest handling of orchard fruit.
To switch from conventional to organic production requires the recognition of several challenges. The first and most obvious of these is to replace the use of common and readily available chemicals with changes in total practices and/or the use of chemicals approved for organic production, which may be less effective or require a learning curve for successful application. Additionally, good orchard practices must be followed in an organic system just as they are in a conventional system. If processing is going to be part of the orchard operation, such as preparation of cider, sauces, or frozen fruit, approved synthetic and natural products must be used and guidelines both followed and documented. Changes in the phytochemical and nutrient content of foods, or even a change in ripening patterns, can affect quality and harvest operations between conventional and organic production systems.