July 30, 2014 • 10:00 am
I think it's pretty obvious how much I genuinely LOOOOVE BC cherries! Pretty much my FAV summer fruit to use in all of my summer recipes! Earlier this month, I visited the BC Tree Fruits cherry packinghouse and orchard in Kelowna, and I couldn't believe how much time and effort is put into ensuring every cherry is absolutely perfect!!!!!! I thought I'd share what I learned, and walk you through this amazing experience!
Once the cherries are ripe enough to be picked off the trees, they are delivered to the packinghouse, and the cherries are immediately put through a hydro cooler to cool the fruit down. From there, the cherries are put into cold storage before being run down the line.
The bins are brought from storage to the front of the packing line where the cherries are immersed in water. The temp of the water is freezing, but because the water is always moving, it doesn't freeze! It was sooo cool to watch!
The first part of the line is the cluster cutter where the stems of the cherries are cut to make sure that each cherry going down the line is a single cherry.
The cherries then go through the first sorting tables where any defects or clusters are removed. From there, the cherries go down the line into another hydro cooler where they are cooled even more.
After the cooling process, they go through the computerized defect sorter where in about 1 second, 16 pictures of each cherry are taken!!!! 16 photos per cherry?!?! That's a lot of photos!!! This step blew my mind!!!!! Each cherry is then categorized based on size, weight and colour.
From there, each cherry gets put down a specific line depending on the size and colour. Any defects go down a process grade line.
After that, the fruit goes down to another sorting table where any defects are removed before being packaged.
Fruit is then bagged, boxed and palletized to leave the packinghouse and head to a store near you!
This experience definitely made me appreciate BC cherries even more than I already did!! BC Tree Fruits, thank you so much for having me and teaching me all about the cherry packing process!!!!! And HUGE thank you to Sharla of Sharla Pike Photography for these beautiful photos!