The start of a new season

The 2024 harvest season is well underway, having started a week to ten days earlier than the previous year. The hustle and bustle of beeping forklifts in reverse gear, the hooting of horns and the resounding buzz of machinery are back, and we have a “full house” again.

To act as a fruit packer, we rely on the loyal support of each of our farms and growers, and it’s important to package and market each shipment of fruit received in the best possible way.

At the end of January the packhouse team paid a visit to our farms. Walking through the orchards alongside our farm managers, we observed and discussed the soon-to-be-harvested fruits. This visit served as a valuable resource for our packhouse team, aiding in their planning efforts and providing insights into farming practices.

Back at the packhouse we are keeping the apples rolling under the watchful “eyes” of the pre-sorter. This is an important step before we can start grading and packing.

Through the years we have seen time and time again that better grading enables us to get better results. As the fruits move under the high-speed cameras, 60 photos are taken of each fruit at 8 fruits per second. For the entire pre-sorter it means 480 photos per second per lane; across 10 lanes it comes to a total of 4800 photos per second! These photos are instantly analysed, showing any defects, average colour value, fruit size, weight grading and quality measurement.

Additionally, it minimises waste by identifying and diverting any inferior or damaged apples early in the supply chain. Ultimately, the purpose of pre-sorting apples is to enhance the overall efficiency of our packhouse, delivering a superior product to buyers while reducing waste and maximising the economic viability of the fruit.

Pre-sorting helps optimise the packing and shipping processes, ensuring that consumers receive apples of consistent quality and appearance.