Over 20 years we have bought avocados from more than 25 packing houses, and we maintain friendly relations with each and every aguacatero with whom we have had the pleasure to do deal. Packing avocados is a complicated task and each packer has their plusses and minuses. We have in depth knowledge of who is who, and we can match our customer’s needs to the value a packing house can deliver.
Packing avocados requires sophisticated machinery and an ample number of persons on the line to recheck quality, and place the fruit in the boxes. (no packer has an auto filling machine).
Once the field bins are dumped on the packing line, they are cleaned by soft brushes, then sorted. Each avocado falls into a cup in which it is rotated so that as it passes under a video camera, all sides of it can be seen. According to the photo obtained, the avocado is dropped into the appropriate size chute, and fruits with defects are dropped in their own chute. The degree of defects that are sorted out can be determined by turning a dial. Defects are scars from limb rub, or thrip (a healed ridge or bump created while the pest was alive), or skin cuts from harvesting, or sunburn, etc. Cat 1 quality allows 8 percent defects, Cat 2 allows 12%, and fruits with more are graded for the Mexican market.
Traceability: most packers have fruit from more than one grower on the packing line at any one time. When fruit is processed, the grower’s name and time of day is input, thus whose fruit is being processed can be determined by the time stamp, and that information is put on the label affixed to each box. In the case of avocados, the tracing can be to a section of an orchard, but not to a specific tree. Avocados have never been a source of a foodborne illness.