Last month in the run-up to harvest we went over some equipment modifications at our berry platform! This week, COO Bryan vonHahmann gave us a brief update on its performance so far.
“We didn’t use it as much early on because we were learning about what it will improve and what it’ll make worse,” Bryan says. “We have a lot of young beds coming into production over the next few years, so finding out what works and what doesn’t is going to be crucial.” Young beds have less canopy cover and thus are more prone to rot issues, but the amount of usable fruit on even a three year bed can make a huge difference.
“What we found out during the early run is that if the fruit is soft, the cleaning line can actually damage it. So we have to be aware of that and calculate the optimal timing for running the fruit through,” Bryan says. “The upside is, we’re getting good results. So far we’ve achieved up to 50% improvement on the berries we put through. If the fruit’s at the right stage of firmness/quality, it does run more slowly than what we‘re used to, but we knew that it would be. We don’t anticipate running all our fruit through it, so it’s doing just fine.”
The new line will be running again shortly, Bryan says. “Next week we’ll be picking beds in the center of the farm that we can’t get tractor trailers to, so we have to send in the old trucks.”
“We think it has a place in our operation, and we’re looking to make modifications based on what we learn this year.”