Chris Eckert>LPL Walk & Talk Interviews>Eckert, Section 1


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Peaches are brought in from the orchard and are then the peaches are put through a hydro cooler to remove the field heat. The hydro cooler makes it more stable and resilient. Bruising is a problem, in the past could lose a third of the harvest, today is only about fifteen percent. Water in the hydrocooler is recycled through a chilling tower. Fruit is then taken into the packing house to be sorted and sized. First they wash the fruit to remove excess fuzz and dirt. Then blemished, over ripe or damaged fruit is put into a #2 box which goes into making jam, jelly or wine.
The government regulates pesticide use and is there is no need for consumer concern about pesticides. Each piece of fruit is weighed and a computer sorts it by its size. It gets stickered and labeled with a PLU label and its country of origin label. Which is now required of all produce grown in the United States.
Women work in the pack house, they are more particular about fruit, so they get a higher quality. This is physically more suited for women. Packing is done the same day as harvesting. Everything is labeled by lot so it can be traced back to where it came from and when it was packaged. Technology has been beneficial in the sorting and packaging aspect of peaches, but it is still very labor intensive.