An Introduction…

mercy&pctAugust, 2009

This is the first installment in the “Just Peachy in Florida” Blog as I start my career in stone fruit research and extension at the University of Florida.

Having a blog is a bit new for me, but as my family will tell those reading this, I am well-versed in Facebook; so letting growers know what is going on in the orchard world should be no problem!

My background in stone fruit all stems from a chance encounter in Washington State where I studied for my Master’s degree in viticulture.  During the early months of my research, I met my husband who was studying in plant genetics and breeding (M.S.) at the time.  After we got married, we started at Michigan State University on our Ph.D.s, and I had the opportunity to concentrate on stone fruit production.  It was a great project examining dwarfing rootstocks and the changes in carbohydrate concentration and vasculature around the graft union in sweet cherry rootstocks.  I was successful in publishing two articles, with a third in the review process.

Mercy Olmstead in VineyardAfter graduation, I accepted a position back at Washington State University as a viticulture extension specialist.  It was a wonderful opportunity to be back in the area with my husband’s family, but after 5 years, a job opportunity came up for my husband and I here at the University of Florida.

It has been so exciting to use my stone fruit knowledge again, and to work with rootstock systems.  I have always had so many questions from a basic science perspective about rootstock systems, since my first class in fruit production at MSU.  I am very excited to be on the “front end” of an industry where I have the chance to make a great impact, and I will work tirelessly to see the stone fruit industry succeed in Florida. Peter Olmstead Cherry Orchard

I believe in open communication and I strive to get the information that the growers need as soon as possible in the form that best meets their needs.  Publishing extension bulletins, this web page, presenting at meetings, face-to-face contacts, and phone calls are some of the ways that I anticipate getting that information to the growers.  If anyone has questions about stone fruit production and its potential here in Florida – please don’t hesitate to ask me.