River Valley Fruit Adopts Hazel Technologies Hazel 100™ for Cherry Demand; Allen Kenoyer and Art Varela Detail
GRANDVIEW, WA - Hazel Technologies is continuing to keep the fresh in fresh produce with its latest team-up. The solutions provider partnered with River Valley Fruit to bring its shelf-life extension technology, Hazel 100™, to the Grandview, Washington-based cherry packing operations.
“Art and the River Valley Fruit team have never shied away from embracing new tools that can improve their product. We’re so excited about the work we’re doing together with cherries and happy to see the impact Hazel will continue to have as they ship their exceptional cherries to consumers here in the U.S. and abroad,” said Allen Kenoyer, Hazel AgTech Account Executive in the PNW.
River Valley Fruit adopted the simple, innovative, drop-in solution to ensure the extended freshness of cherries so that its stems can remain vibrant green weeks after harvest—a critical attribute for discerning shoppers.
As noted in the release, River Valley Fruit turned to Hazel with the goal of maintaining its cherries’ quality and appeal among retailers and consumers, beyond production peak. Following a successful 2021 trial, the quality team was sold.
“We use the Hazel 100 sachets in our cherry boxes and have been very pleased with the results. It’s extended the life of our cherries easily for four weeks,” said Art Varela, Quality Control Manager at River Valley Fruit. “Cherries are highly perishable—within just a matter of days, you can see pitting. By the third or fourth week of using [Hazel 100], there is minimal pitting and minimal brown stems.”
In previous years, when climate challenges stunted the PNW cherry crop, River Valley Fruit could move boxes as fast as they packed them. Now, facing an unprecedented, over 50 percent year-over-year supply surge, the company and most other growers in the region are reconsidering their postharvest and export strategy.
“We are probably going to have to use a heck of a lot more Hazel 100, because of volume. We’re good for about the first week and a half—we can't pack them fast enough, but our volume could slim it back to a week or something, and then we will probably have to start using Hazel,” Varela added, highlighting the anticipated need for increased usage of Hazel 100 due to high demand.
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