Hazel Technologies, Inc., a USDA-funded company developing new shelf-life extension technologies for fresh produce, announced the launch of Hazel® Cherry, a new post-harvest technology for fresh cherries.
Cherry packers in the Pacific Northwest successfully piloted the technology, a quarter-sized biodegradable and food-safe packaging insert that is placed in the box during packing, in the 2018 season. Cornell University further validated the performance of the technology in a month long study. According to the company, the Hazel® Cherry helps protect stem quality, reduce pitting, and reduce probability of decay in commercial fresh cherry varieties.
Traditionally, cherries are one of the most difficult produce items to maintain with excellent quality, but due to their high value in global markets are exported heavily. Stem quality, pitting, and decay are challenges that fresh cherry packers and shippers consistently face. Following the 2018 season, fresh cherry packers reported improved quality when using Hazel® Cherry. Additionally, Cornell University, in a July and August 2018 study, found improvements in pitting, decay, and stem quality with Hazel® Cherry versus a control group.
Image provided by the company
“We are constantly looking for the newest technologies to help ensure the highest level of quality. In 2018, we used Hazel® Cherry on our export grade cherries and had excellent quality arrivals in Asia.”, said Deidre Baumgarten, Manager of The Dalles, OR based Polehn Farms.
“Our study showed using Hazel® Cherry compared to an untreated control can result in better stem quality, lower decay, and lower rate of pitting in the ‘Royal’ cherry variety” said Cornell University Professor Chris Watkins. The Cornell University study lasted 33 days and the trial results were statistically significant.
For the upcoming 2019 season, further academic trials studying the technology are planned and industry interest has steadily grown, “We are grateful for the partnership of our trial partners in the Pacific Northwest and look forward to continued adaption and success for packers and retailers using Hazel® Cherry in their supply chains,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO and Co-Founder of Hazel Technologies, Inc.