New Zealand: Good weather gives cherries higher brix and early start

Harvesting for the new cherry season got off to an early start for New Zealand cherry grower and packer PurePac based in the Cromwell Area of Central Otago. 

This is the first export season for PurePac, a newly formed group of growers and packers.

"We started harvest and packing in week 49," explains Sharon Kirk, International and Domestic Sales Manager at PurePac. "This is one week earlier than usual. The spring weather has been fine and warm and fruit is ripening earlier."

The warmer weather also means higher brix levels of 18-20 and the fruit size is bigger than would normally be expected for an early harvest. PurePac are on track for a 450-500 MT harvest.

"The Packhouse is running now which is earlier than anticipated, but it allows us extra time to test and ensure we have the processes in place before the main season starts. Our Packhouse Manager Ross Kirk is very happy with the flow and speed of the Packhouse."

Pure Pac Ltd is the first packhouse to have a purpose built Invision Compac Grading machine which incorporates the low cameras - this allows a 360 degree vision of the cherry. Giving better control of quality, and should they have a season where rain is an issue, will allow them to see any defects on the nose of the cherry.

The Compac Machine takes between 85-90 photos of each fruit.
The team have also installed the latest Radford software for processing product through the system from scanning buckets in the field at harvest, to scanning cartons on to pallets, pallets on to the truck at the packhouse and scanning off again at the freight forwarder.

Although this is the company's first export season, it is made up experienced growers exporters, and will export to Taiwan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Europe, alongside some good programmes with retailers and wholesalers in New Zealand.

Pure Pac are now cluster picking fruit in the field, which enables them to harvest the fruit faster. This has been made possible by the introduction of the "fachaux" in the packhouse which separate the cherries as they move onto the grading machine.

"Our packaging is arriving and looks beautiful. We will also have 500gm and 800gm bags available, along with 400gm and 800gm punnets," says Sharon. "We have a specially built prepack packing machine arriving at the packhouse this week that will fill the punnets and bags directly from the packing line so there will be no extra handling. This will enable us to deliver a better quality prepack."
For more information:
Sharon Kirk


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