Hazel Technologies, Inc. has collaborated with Spicewood, TX-based The Fredericksburg Peach Company, a family-owned grower/shipper/wholesaler with more than 35 years of experience. Fredericksburg Peach trialed Hazel’s flagship technology, Hazel 100™ in 2021 and saw successful results with its peaches, leading the company to commit to Hazel for its 2022 season.
The Fredericksburg Peach Company is a Texas grower and shipper managing more than 400 acres of fresh peach production, sourced internally as well as from over 30 outside growers. With a reputation for customer service and produce quality, the company services major retailer chains in the Southern US including Kroger, HEB and Whole Foods.
The peaches on the right have undergone the trial with Hazel 100.
Locally sourced ingredients have become extremely important for consumers over the last few years. Studies have shown that over three quarters of consumers are willing to pay up to 20 percent more for local food. Locally sourced produce is also often seen as a fresher more sustainable option with better eating quality.
In the peach industry, growers often achieve the best eating quality by tree ripening to achieve more flavorful, ready-to-eat fruit. Although tree-ripened local fruit programs offer the best taste to consumers, these programs frequently run the risk of losing firmness in route to the supermarket or on the shelf, leading to shrink.
In 2021, Fredericksburg turned to Hazel for a shelf-life solution to better ensure the quality of its peaches. Alongside a local Texas retailer, Fredericksburg and Hazel completed an eight-week commercial trial. Results proved Hazel 100-protected peaches were 23 percent more firm than control after three days in cold storage and three days at ambient temperature. In many instances, the difference exceeded 1lb. of pressure after the six days. In addition, the fruit had a better internal quality during QC inspections at receiving.
Right: Tommy Caruana
“While trialing Hazel 100, we saw our percentage of rejections go down about five percent at retail. That’s huge for our bottom line as a provider of locally grown peaches,” said Frank Davis, president at The Fredericksburg Peach Company. “Hazel is definitely a technology we look forward to using going forward.”
“Retailers are pushing for larger local displays in the fresh produce department to help drive sales and revenue,” said Tommy Caruana, director of business development-retail at Hazel Technologies, Inc. “Hazel 100’s ability to slow down the ripening process gives retailers firmer fruit to present on their shelves while consumers can have local produce that’s the ideal eating pressure within a day or so of it hitting their kitchen counter.”