Small berries deteriorate quickly if cold chain system breaks down
“Small diameter and fairly expensive fresh produce, especially berries, can deteriorate very quickly if the cold chain breaks down or is delayed,” said Global Cooling President Jim Still. A container-load or trailer-load of blueberries is then worth over $400,000.
A proper cooler, like Global Cooling’s Jet-Ready Precooler, can pay for itself in a day or two, according to Still, if it allows the grower or packer to ship their fruit to further-away markets where they can earn an extra dollar or two a pound. “Or to hold onto product for a few days until the local price moves in the proper direction,” he added.
Cherries too, are small diameter and very sensitive to cold chain mis-handling, “A Jet-Ready delivers about 35,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of airflow,” Still said. “Because berry pallets only weigh about 1,000 pounds, when precooling 10 pallets of berries the fruit is getting about three-and-half cfm per pound.”
Global Cooling Jet-Ready Precooler users have reported reductions of up to two-thirds off of their previous cooling times. Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee, Washington, has converted all cherry precooling to Jet units and claim they have gained an average of five days’ extra shelf life.