Packers Innovate with Hazel for Apples

CHICAGO, IL – Hazel Technologies Inc., a USDA-funded technology company delivering new packaging solutions for fresh produce to extend shelf-life, increase sales, and fight food waste, announces positive industry feedback on a version of their USDA-funded suite of technologies specifically designed for apples.

The Hazel for apple technology works by reducing the respiration rate of apples prior to the storage process. The technology was designed to be easy to use: operators simply toss the Hazel for apple sachet in a bin of apples following harvest and before storage. Feedback from the industry has been positive across multiple production regions: 

“The most important feature of the Hazel™ for apple technology is the ease of use. It works great for the speed at which we fill rooms. (There is) no need to do partial applications. We get the same positive results with this new treatment,” said Brian Ruhoff, CFO at Wescott Orchards, a major Minnesota apple grower and part of global apple marketer Honeybear Brands.

“After trialing Hazel Tech® bin sachets, we observed vastly improved eating quality after storage. The technology is very easy to use – it’s a no brainer. We believe Hazel for Apple is the next new technology to positively impact quality across the apple industry,” said Steve Louis, Owner at Oakwood Fruit Farm. Oakwood, a grower and packer with over 100 years in operation, farms over 200 acres of apples in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

“Using Hazel on our Honeycrisp apples resulted in reduced labor, increased safety for employees, easy applications of 1- MCP, and after 40 days of storage, a 90% reduction of ethylene. It’s a great technology I plan on using every season,” said Scott Kee, VP Operations at Sacia Orchards. Sacia, the 2nd largest and oldest apple orchard in Wisconsin, farms 14 different varieties of apples across 250 acres of orchards.

“Apples are one of the pillars of the produce category. Our goal with Hazel for Apple was to provide both efficacy and extreme flexibility,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO at Hazel Technologies, Inc. “Based on customer feedback, we are on the right path, and will continue to improve this technology to provide even more value for apple growers, packers, and retailers.”

Founded in 2015, Hazel Tech® solutions revolve around the controlled release of active, shelf-life enhancing vapor from packaging materials. Hazel sachets are placed in boxes of bulk produce by packers soon after the time of harvest, extending the shelf-life of produce up to three times by slowing aging in produce and preventing decay. Hazel® patent-pending technologies have been tested by many of the country’s top academic research programs including UC Davis, Cornell University, and Oregon State University.

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About Hazel Technologies, Inc.: Hazel Technologies is a USDA-funded startup company that develops new packaging technologies to extend the quality shelf life of fresh produce. Founded in 2015, Hazel Tech® services over 100 of the largest fresh produce packers, shippers, and retailers in the world. In 2020, Hazel expects to be used with over 3.2 billion pounds of fresh produce, preventing over 270 million pounds of fresh produce from going to waste.

For more information, visit www.hazeltechnologies.com.

About Honeybear Brands:

Honeybear Brands is a leading developer, grower and importer of premium apple varieties. The company started as Wescott Agri Products, a family run orchard in the early 1970s. From that start, several generations ago, Honeybear still employs the same hands on attention to every new variety whether developed through the company’s renowned apple development program, licensed from partners or imported from overseas operations. Honeybear pioneered the Honeycrisp variety in North America and today has growing operations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, New York and Nova Scotia, Canada as well as southern hemisphere growing in Chile. The company provides best-in-class complete domestic and international supply integration from varietal development to growing, picking, packing, shipping and comprehensive retailer support.

For more information, visit www.honeybearbrands.com

About Sacia Orchards:

Sacia Orchards has been calling Galesville, Wisconsin home for over 100 years. Fred Sacia began our beloved orchard in the 1890s with 25 trees. 60,000 trees and 115 years later, Fred’s granddaughter Sacia and her husband Dave Morris carry on Fred’s pioneering vision. Come see us and enjoy the tastes of Wisconsin’s oldest and second largest apple orchard.

About Oakwood Fruit Farm:

Oakwood Fruit Farm was started in the early 1900’s by Albert Louis. The farm sits among the ridges and coulees almost directly east of Richland Center. The soils are fertile and the topography allows cold air to drain from the ridges where trees are planted. The family orchard was continued and expanded when Bill Louis joined the operation in 1934. Today, Oakwood Fruit Farm grows over 20 apple varieties on over 200 acres of orchards.

For more information, visit www.oakwoodfruitfarm.com

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