Cherry packers in the Pacific Northwest have successfully piloted a new post-harvest technology that helps preserve fruit quality.
Developed by USDA-funded company, Hazel Technologies, the solution is a small biodegradable and food-safe packaging insert that is placed in cherry cartons during packing.
Known as Hazel Cherry, the technology is said to protect stem quality, reduce pitting, and reduce probability of decay in commercial fresh cherry varieties.
Following the 2018 season, fresh cherry packers in the US Northwest reported improved quality when using Hazel Cherry. This claim was supported by a study conducted by Cornell University in July and August 2018.
“Our study showed using Hazel Cherry compared to an untreated control can result in better stem quality, lower decay, and lower rate of pitting in the ‘Royal’ cherry variety,” said Cornell University professor Chris Watkins. “The Cornell University study lasted 33 days and the trial results were statistically significant.”
Further academic trials are being planned over the upcoming 2019 season, with industry interest steadily growing.
“We are grateful for the partnership of our trial partners in the Pacific Northwest and look forward to continued adaption and success for packers and retailers using Hazel Cherry in their supply chains,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO and co-founder of Hazel Technologies.