U.S.: new Naturipe technology extends strawberry shelf life
The company says tests of the 'Cold@Field in-field cooling system' led to quicker timespans between picking and cooling, and Naturipe is now utilizing the concept.
"In 2010 we conducted several research projects to address the areas where we could positively impact strawberry quality, condition, shelf life and most importantly the taste and eating experience," said CEO Rich Amirsehhi.
"As growers we have long known that quickly removing the field heat from a harvested strawberry is crucial to preserving berry freshness and quality.
"In collaboration with American Cooling , we took a different approach to berry cooling and developed new technologies for strawberry cooling that can start as soon as 30 minutes after harvest."
The self-contained and portable Cold@Field berry cooling plants keep the strawberries at 32°F (0°C) and can be placed at farm entrance points for easy loading by customers. A company release said the technology also eliminated storage time, handling and temperature variations.
"From proprietary varieties, to innovative packaging, improved production methods and new post-harvest technologies such as Cold@Field, our goal is to increase the speed to market, reduce shrink throughout the supply chain, and improve the "taste life" - giving consumers more time to enjoy Naturipe strawberries."
Postharvest Engineering's Dr Jim Thompson assisted the Naturipe team with the product.
"There are many factors that impact strawberry quality – temperature influences moisture loss and respiration rates. For every 20°F drop in temperature the moisture loss is cut in half and the respiration rate is reduced by a factor of 2-3.
"Those are very significant numbers, the faster you shut down moisture loss and respiration the sooner shriveling and metabolism slow down, meaning less loss of the sugars and acids that give strawberries their unique flavor."
Cold@Field systems were designed by American Cooling Inc.
"Automated pallet handling means less opportunities for bruising and a temperature controlled loading dock avoids temperature variations.
"Naturipe worked very closely with our engineering team to develop a fully integrated system that is designed to extend shelf life and quality of their berries, yet it is a practical field based solution for their growers."