As Fresh as on the First Day

How an Apple Gets from the Tree to the Store

August marks the beginning of the most intensive time of year for apple growers: the harvest. From the middle of August until November, apples are harvested at their own individual correct time of ripeness. That is important for guaranteeing both the quality and the capability for the storage of the apples. The curtain rises with the summer variety Gala in August, with the final act featuring the club apple Pink Lady® in November. Every single apple is picked from the tree one at a time by the growers and their harvest helpers – as a rule students, seniors, or seasonal farmworkers – and thus the harvest takes place 100% by hand. In order to make the physical labor a little easier, forklifts, harvest platforms, and picking catcher baskets are put to use. 

The apples that have been picked arrive at the fruitgrowers cooperatives in large crates that weigh approximately 320 kg (over 700 lbs.) each. They are provided there with a barcode for traceability and then stored in cold storage cells. 

How Apples are Stored

For the optimal storage of apples in cold storage cells (either in temporary storage or in high-bay warehouses), different techniques are applied:

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Controlled Atmosphere Storage Technology (CA)
Apples are stored at approximately four degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit) and with greatly reduced oxygen levels. As a result of this, the ripening process is slowed, and the apples go into a sort of hibernation. In this so-called “controlled atmosphere”, apples can thus be kept fresh for up to twelve months.
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1-MCP Storage Technology
If the apples are to be transported to very distant countries, then 1-MCP storage is relied upon. With this process, the apples are treated with the gas 1-methylcyclopropene which suppresses the natural ripening gas ethylene and consequently also provides for freshness for over twelve months. Within that context, no residues whatsoever are left behind in or on the apples.
Out of Hibernation and into the World

Sorting, Traceability, and Sales

As soon as purchasers have placed their orders, the apples go out once again into the fresh air. The crates are first taken out of the warehouse and brought to the sorting machine. Once there, they are transported by water and sorted according to shape, color, size, peel purity, and signs of damage. In this phase, a photo is taken of every apple. In the next step, they return once again, now sorted, to the large crates. Finally, they are washed with drinking water and brushed, packed in different forms of packaging, labeled, and transported to the customers.

Our Guarantee: Thanks to the barcode with which every crate is provided upon delivery to the fruit cooperative, every apple can be traced back to the individual grower. Only those apples which have a uniform size, shape, and color, which have residues below the prescribed limit, and which have been labeled may leave the fruit cooperative and reach the market.