Although internal defects in produce cannot be prevented, they have a significant impact on consumer experience and repeat purchases. In 2015, in order to prevent shipping product with internal defects, New York based Crist Bros Orchards started working with a measuring system that identifies the internal quality of their apples before they are shipped. “We are using the iFA sorter from Greefa,” says Jenny Crist Kohn, Vice-President and fifth-generation owner of the company. “This sorter allows us to see defects that can’t be seen by the human eye and it provides a high degree of confidence that we’re shipping premium quality fruit.”
Jenny Crist Kohn.
Premium apple varieties
Crist Bros Orchards grows several different apple varieties in New York’s Hudson Valley. In 2012, the company started planting SnapDragon and RubyFrost trees, two apple varieties that have rapidly gained in popularity in recent years. Due to the success of both varieties, Crist Bros Orchards have transitioned more orchards into SnapDragon and RubyFrost over the years. “Both varieties are premium, and we want to make sure we deliver on the premium aspect by providing the consumer with an excellent experience,” Crist Kohn mentioned. The iFA sorter plays a crucial role in that process. “There are no surprises, just happy surprises,” she added. In addition to providing an excellent eating experience, iFA technology also helps the sorting process go more quickly.
RubyFrost variety on the left and SnapDragon apples on the right.
How does the iFA technology work? A light shines through each apple in the cup. The system knows exactly what light goes into the fruit and analyses the spectrum that comes out on the other side. This allows for a prediction of the internal composition of the fruit. Although the outside might look attractive and delicious, the iFA technology may reveal an inside with defects like internal browning. This technology is non-destructive as it allows for defects to be identified without cutting the fruit. Based on the type of defect, the apples can be separated into various categories for different groups of customers. Click below to see a video on the sorter.
“We feel the iFA sorter sets us apart as with a high degree of confidence it allows us to assure a premium quality apple,” Crist Kohn concluded.