RipeLocker has completed a trial in which its containers held freshly harvested organic blueberries in pristine condition for eight weeks.
In the trial, the company used six pallet-size RipeLocker containers to store fresh organic blueberries from blueberry grower Blueberry Hill. Blueberry Hill also owns Sorbatto Fresh, a packing and storing facility for 20 blueberry growers in Washington State and about 90 percent of the blueberries managed by Sorbatto Fresh are organic. By using RipeLocker containers, Blueberry Hill can extend its selling season, increase margins and provide higher quality fruit for longer periods of time.
The patented, dynamic, low-atmosphere RipeLocker containers are used for storing and shipping fresh produce and flowers and can extend post-harvest life by weeks or months. They are pallet-size, made from recycled materials and reusable. RipeLocker containers are leased to customers on an annual basis. The company has already completed efficacy trials with several high-value commodities such as berries, pomegranates, cherries, papayas, fresh hops and flowers and it expects to announce additional orders of RipeLocker containers soon.
Blueberry Hill blueberries in RipeLocker containers after eight weeks.
The organic application
“We have seen excellent results in our efficacy trials, including this one with Blueberry Hill,” said George Lobisser, CEO and co-founder of RipeLocker.
“We were extremely pleased with the quality of the blueberries that had been stored in RipeLocker containers for eight weeks. They looked like they came right out of the field,” said Jeff Weijohn, owner of Blueberry Hill. “After seeing such great results, we signed up to lease the RipeLocker containers and anticipate a strong ROI from using them.”
Blueberry Hill plans to use the containers it leases to store and ship its blueberries and potentially other perishables in the future. The company expects to be able to use each container four to five times each season.
The technology behind the containers
RipeLocker containers offer a patented system to manage atmospheric pressure, humidity and gas composition (oxygen and CO2) within the containers to extend the life of fresh produce and flowers. The containers suppress pathogen growth, resulting in significantly less decay. In addition, RipeLocker containers can provide a vehicle for delivering organic fungicide vapors to kill the pathogen.
Based on the specific needs of each type of fresh produce or flower, RipeLocker tailors operating parameters, such as internal pressure, oxygen and CO2 levels to optimize the longevity and freshness. The system responds to changes in the storage or shipping environment, making automatic precise adjustments to prevent damage and reduce decay.
RipeLocker designed its containers so that they can be deployed and used in the existing cold chain. Produced via injection molds, the RipeLocker container can be delivered cost effectively in mass volume. RipeLocker has patents on both the container design and method of operation.