Fruits and vegetables are perhaps the only naturally self-sufficient products that are loaded with vital nutrients. Consuming them raw or in juice form can give your body all the nourishment it needs, even if you avoid eating anything else. The produce is rich in several nutrients, be it iron, minerals, fibre and various types of vitamins. But these products are also highly perishable. In fact, a study claims that almost 20-40% of the total fruits and vegetables produced in India get wasted between the times it is harvested until it reaches consumers.
A lot of this loss is averted if this fresh produce is processed or preserved in its natural form and made available for consumption. Let’s understand post-harvest management goals and the technology we use at Freshtrop.
What is post-harvest management?
Post-harvest management or post-harvest handling is an agriculture term which refers to the produce production stage that comes immediately after harvesting. The moment produce is removed from the ground and separated the parent plant, it starts deteriorating. Post-harvest treatment refers to the process that helps determine the final quality of a particular fruit, vegetable or crop. It helps the cultivator determine if the produce can be sold for fresh consumption or if it can be used in processed food products, as an ingredient.
Techniques we use
At Freshtrop, we pay special attention to the fruits, vegetables, nuts and other fresh produce. Apart from sourcing the produce from trusted farmers who have been working with Freshtrop for almost 2 decades now, we also follow certain important procedures to ensure that the produce is not only of great quality, but also handled properly.
Plucking the produce: Did you know that there is a certain technique involved in plucking the produce? If you’ve ever looked at the stem of a grape closely, you’ll often find it has discoloured and gone brown, but did you know that the actual stem of the green grapes is supposed to be green in colour? Also, to ensure that the produce is not damaged even slightly by the heat of the sun, it is plucked out in the wee hours of the morning, when the soil of the earth is still cool and the temperature levels are low.
Transportation: To ensure that the produce is not exposed to any damage or spoilage, we take great care while transporting the produce from the farm to the factory. Trucks are not used to dump the produce in huge masses, one on top of the other, neither is the produce just placed in huge crates. Instead, we layer the produce, where each fruit is placed separately, and not one on top of the other.
Bubble wash: Once we bring the produce to the factory, the produce is washed thoroughly to ensure the residue of any pesticides used is removed and cleaned. To this effect, we use a technique called bubble wash in which we use a soft chemical which does not hurt or affect the produce, unlike most manufacturers who use chlorine, which, in fact, spoils the produce. Also, we use soft-water to wash the produce.
Machinery: We use special machines that only accept good produce, and even slightly spoiled produce is discarded. Apart from the machinery, we also have people stationed, who hand-pick the produce, thus doubly ensuring that only good quality produce is used to make the juices.