Vegetables are grown in Idaho at elevations ranging from 1,000 feet to more than 6,000 feet. An accurate general prediction of harvest dates from time of planting is impossible because Idaho's climates differ so greatly. Furthermore, harvest dates differ from season to season, with the type of vegetable, and even with the cultivar (variety) of a certain type of vegetable. Yet, harvesting at the proper stage of maturity is essential for peak flavor and nutrition. Vegetables are still alive after harvest; they are still respiring and breaking down cellular contents to provide energy to live. All successful storage regimes retard the rate of respiration and hence the rate at which the vegetables degenerate.

Harvest vegetables in the morning when they are likely to be at their coolest and will take handling better. Vegetables with waxy, waterproof skins requiring cool storage can be pre-treated in ice water to quickly remove the field heat (heat in the vegetable at harvest). Avoid bruising or otherwise damaging the vegetables to minimize decay during storage. Vegetable quality deteriorates rapidly after harvest. Keep fresh produce out of direct sunlight and cook, process, or place it in the proper storage conditions as soon as possible.

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