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She also said that sizing technology


has been around for awhile but the optical defect detecting technology is newto theOkanagan. The dry packing line designed by


Keith helps Carcajou’s bottomline by minimizing spoilage of packed fruit. The speed of the optical defect


sorting lines,which process two tons of fruit per hour, can be an important, even crucial, feature. Erin Carlson,Keith and Jan’s


daughter, said labour costs previously could have prevented picking cherries with a high cull rate or even harvesting all the cherries in a particularly heavy- yield year. “Itmight not have been cost effective


orwemight not have been able to do it all by hand,” she said. “A big reasonwe bought the new


sorting linewas the experience of last year’s large harvestwith a 40 percent cull rate,” Jan said. Cost of the newequipmentwas


approximately $500,000. Keith estimates themachinewill pay


for itself in four years. He gratefully acknowledges a


$25,000 contribution fromthe B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation’s


ripening varieties such as Santina, SuiteNote, Satin and Christalina. “Theywant to keep


their operations going for as long as possible,” Keith said. Regarding the sale of


B.C. cherries to China, he thinks the future looks good. After going through the


SUSAN MCIVER


MAF service technician Tom Brown checks computer display of information about individual cherries in the camera box (white hood structure in background).


tree fruit infrastructure fund. Looking at the B.C. cherry industry in


general,Keith sees an industry that is consolidating. “Mediumand large growers are


starting to growmost of the fruit,” he said. He also has observed thatmost


growerswith their own packing operations are plantingmore earlier


inspection process this year, he anticipates shipping cherries to China in the near future. “Next yearwe’ll have


15 acres of new production in addition to our current 25,”Keith said.


The Carlsons also pack 10 acres of


other growers’ cherries. Earlier this year, the B.C. Fruit


Growers’ Association presented its Award ofMerit toKeith. In 2005,Keith and Janwere the


recipients of the Soft Fruit Award given by the BCFGA in recognition of innovation and success in the production of soft fruit.


British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013


19


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