Preserving product quality post-harvest is a challenging and costly process for many growers. Achieving the highest possible quality for fresh vegetables depends on the ability to rapidly and thoroughly cool the product immediately after harvest, and maintain that low temperature during storage, processing, and shipping. DeepChill has this ability.
Sunwell works with several leading produce growers in North America, primarily in the US and Mexico. From reducing shipping weights, to increasing shelf life and shipping distances, DeepChill has enabled growers to improve their product quality, optimize operations, and ultimately grow their business.
- Brussel Sprouts
Sandovegetales, a Mexican-based farm, specializes in the production and merchandising of premium quality vegetables, with demanding clients around the world. After switching to a DeepChill system for packing their produce, Sandovegetales:
- Achieved double shelf life for their superior quality broccoli
- Significantly increased sales
- Is now able to export broccoli to Asia
- Improved efficiency of their operations
Sandovegetales on Sunwell DeepChill System
DeepChill’s round micro-crystals fully coat broccoli, getting right into the crown and in between the individual florets to provide maximum cooling power. DeepChill’s rapid cooling prevents wilting and yellowing, and preserves the broccoli’s field-fresh quality. DeepChill is also able to better maintain the optimal temperature throughout storage and shipping, which slows or inhibits respiration and the growth of bacteria.
Pre-Cooling / Removal of Field Heat
How product is handled once harvested is the key determining factor in the overall quality of the broccoli. Field heat must be removed as soon as possible in order to avoid wilting and yellowing. With the fastest chilling rate (able to reduce core product temperature by 15-20°F in 60 seconds), DeepChill provides the most effective method of bringing the temperature of the broccoli down to 32°F / 0°C after harvest. This is an essential step to stopping the degradation process and preserving peak broccoli quality and freshness.
Packing, Storage & Shipping
The ability to hold broccoli at peak quality after harvest depends on a grower’s ability to maintain the optimal temperature and environment. The number one factor that impacts broccoli deterioration rate is temperature. For each increase of 10°C (18°F) above the optimum, the rate of deterioration increases two/threefold (Kader, Adel A., Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops. “Postharvest Biology and Technology: An Overview” pp.42). This makes the ability to rapidly cool product and hold that low temperature all the more important.
DeepChill has been used to store product longer and ship it farther without any loss of quality. It retains moisture far better than other icing methods and prevents the product from wilting or drying, thereby extending shelf life. Produce is retained in a fresh and attractive condition throughout the cold chain, right to the customer. This enables growers to ship their product to reach new clients further abroad, expanding their market and possibly entering markets whose standards are higher than those that they currently supply.
- Broccoli can be sold for higher prices, since it does not wilt or dry out
- Ice production costs can be minimized by reducing labour and energy
- Up to 60% reduction in water and ice wastage
- Shelf life can be doubled enabling produce to be sold at maximum market value
- Reduction in transportation costs due to a substantial reduction in the amount of required ice per box, enabling more boxes to be shipped at a time
- By being able to ship further, new market opportunities can be obtained
DeepChill for postharvest cooling and packing of broccoli in waxed cartons ensures produce remains fresh and attractive throughout the marketing chain. Boxes containing produce are stacked on a pallet. DeepChill ice slurry is then injected into the boxes, with the entire pallet being DeepChilled in less than a minute. The excess water is drained away, leaving the broccoli uniformly packed in DeepChill crystals and ready for storage and distribution. Unlike other produce icing systems, DeepChill Systems allow you to reduce the shipping weight by selecting the amount of DeepChill crystals packed into each box.