Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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Page 16 of 55 GOOD FRUIT GROWER MAY 15, 2014 17 "These modern rootstocks and variet- ies are more precocious than their grand- fathers, and they've doubled production on the same acreage. Cherry production in the Northwest has not peaked by any means." Plath cited new technology in cherry packing as another reason for build- ing a new facility. In recent years, he's observed high-quality Chilean cherries being imported to U.S. markets. "Chilean cherries have a 30-day boat ride from har- vest to market, and yet they arrive in great shape," he said, adding that the Chil- eans are doing a great job of delivering high-quality cherries. "New technology for our cherries combined with improved temperature control in the cold chain will help ensure that Northwest cherries arrive in high quality." River Road The new 85,000-square-feet cherry packing facility was built north of Wash- ington Fruit's new apple packing plant on River Road in Yakima. The company's old cherry facility in Yakima was sold. "We identified what we wanted on the cherry packing line first, and then we designed the building around the line instead of around existing con- straints," said Tommy Hanses, a partner at Washington Fruit. The line will use two 16-lane, elec- tronic sorters to size fruit and sort for internal and external defects. Packing capacity will be 20 tons of fruit per hour, double the capacity of the old line. Labor savings from the sorting tech- nology will allow the company to handle double the volume with the same work force, Hanses said. "The new technology is a huge step up for the industry through improved sizing accuracy and sorting of defects like cracks, soft cherries, and splits," he said. The driving force for the new plant is to improve fruit quality. "We'll have consistent sizing and cleaner fruit." Hanses also believes the new technol- ogy will allow them to sort rain-damaged fruit. "In the past, sorters could only pick out a certain amount of good fruit from the damaged fruit," he said. Lines had to be slowed way down and were maxed out on capacity. Often, there was little incen- tive for the grower to try to salvage the good fruit. Plath added that the new plant will integrate improved temperature control throughout the cold chain, including Effects of Using Nutri-Cal with Nutri-K on Cherries Effects of Using Nutri-Cal with Nutri-K on Cherries 366.28 g 369.50 g GRAMS FORCE TO SQUEEZE SKIN 1mm 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 FIRMNESS EVALUATION OF BING CHERRIES COMBINED MAHOGANY & DARK MAHOGANY % PREMIUM COLORS OF BING CHERRIES 89.25 95.75 75 80 85 90 95 100 Ron Britt & Associates, Yakima, WA 2012 Application Rate of 2 Quarts Nutri-Cal & 1 Quart Nutri-K Applied 6 times beginning at Petal Fall 2011 Application Dates: May 23, May 27, June 3, June 11, June 19, June 24 C.S.I. CHEMICAL CORP. 800-247-2480 • 10980 Hubbell Ave., Bondurant, Iowa 50035 PACIFIC NORTHWEST Walt Grigg: 509-952-7558 C.S.I. CHEMICAL CORP. 800-247-2480 • 10980 Hubbell Ave., Bondurant, Iowa 50035 PACIFIC NORTHWEST Walt Grigg: 509-952-7558 ® Make Sure You Always Ask For ® Make Sure You Always Ask For ® Make Sure You Always Ask For 17.00% 21.25% BRIX QUALITY OF BING CHERRIES 0 5 10 15 20 25 20 56.7 80 44.2 PREMIUM MEDIUM % MARKETABLE GRADES OF BING CHERRIES 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Nutri-Cal 36% Increase in Premium Grade 8.5-9! Tommy Hanses oversees the construction of a new cherry sorting and packing facility at Washington Fruit and Produce. PHOTOS BY TJ MULLINAX handling and packing cherries, a factor that he believes is one of the reasons for the high-quality arrivals of Chilean cherries. New packing tech- nology handles cherries more gently than old packing equipment, through better conveyance systems, gentler bag filling, and more advanced cluster-cutting equipment. "It all adds up to a more gentle ride for cher- ries," he said, adding that the new soft touch will allow them to force-air cool cherries after packing, a step that should help prevent pitting. Research has shown that cold cherries are more susceptible to pitting. The new packing facility will allow Wash- ington Fruit enough capacity to pack fruit from orchards of its owners as well as custom pack for outside growers. •

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