Mercy Olmstead, University of Florida

I am a peach, nectarine, plum and grape extension specialist in Florida working in Gainesville at the University of Florida in the Horticultural Sciences Department and with UF/IFAS Extension.  I have previous experience working with the grape industry in Washington State from 2004 – 2009 as the viticulture extension specialist, and from 1998-2000 working on a Master’s Degree in Horticulture.  It was a great experience and helped me to understand how to grow grapes for premium wine production.  Members of my family and extended family have grown grapes for Welch’s and National Grape Cooperative and for various wineries in Washington State, and I have drawn upon their experience to help other growers. 

I currently have a 60% extension and 40% research appointment, which means that the research I do helps me to address problems that our growers in the stone fruit and grape industry may encounter.  My main research areas are in the areas of nutrition management, rootstock performance and nematode resistance screening, and grape canopy management for fruit quality and vine longevity.  Although canopy management has been the topic of many research programs, little research has been conducted in subtropical climates like that of Florida’s. In addition to canopy management for wine grapes, I also help to manage a muscadine vineyard for research and demonstration in northeastern Florida. 

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