Agri-Innovation Program through the Investment Agriculture Foundation, and will be working with Lally Farms of Abbotsford on the project.
Stromotich said they are working with raspberries first because they lend themselves so readily, with a large percentage of the crop of lower value and a lot of external competition in the marketplace. By next March he expects to be able to demonstrate how the equipment works, on site with on- site staff.
“Although the objective of the project will be met by March of next year we will continue to advance our technology well after this project is complete,” Stromotich said.
It is better to work with fresh fruit, but the system can work with frozen. Because the funding was announced late in the season, this time frozen product will have to be used, he said.
Each product being dried has a unique chemical composition and requires modification to the process to optimize performance, he explained.
“The process involves defining the final product we want the machine to produce. This takes time, testing, market analysis and variation analysis.
“For a machine to operate as a plug-and-play system requires the manufacturer to know all the variables and be able to compensate for them.
“That way the site operator does not have to understand all the technology behind the machine, just plug it in and run it,” he said. “There are lots of exciting opportunities with this product.” In announcing the grant, Abbotsford MP Ed Fast said the new technology will help fruit growers increase their
competitiveness, profitability and sustainability by creating new market opportunities and mitigating their on-farm energy consumption for freezing and storing fruit.
Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes said it should help growers expand domestic and international sales of B.C. foods using new innovation.
14 British Columbia Berry Grower • Fall 2012 JUDIE STEEVES
Fresh or frozen raspberries can be used with The Mobile Continuous Microwave Drying system. Fresh is preferred, but because funding for the project announced late in the season, frozen product will be used initially.
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