Had grading dates been this easy ‘back in the day,’ I would have saved a lot of money and not kept looking for the perfect ‘date’ day-after-day, season-after-season and year-after-year . . . and Friday nights (and every other day and night of the year) would have been a lot more consistent. All kidding aside, in a commodity segment expecting significant, double digit growth in the coming years, growers and packers simply cannot afford to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage by not partnering with providers capable of deploying the most advanced, accurate and reliable equipment and technology solutions. For a commodity ready to come into its own in North America, the days of ‘hobby’ or ‘skunkworks’ systems have passed.
Durand-Wayland presented grading solutions for Medjool dates (currently employed in Israel from our European partners, Ellips B.V. and Elisam) to industry leaders recently during a week-long series of meetings and demonstrations. The challenges ranged from externally identifying Medjool’s with an affixed calyx and/or skin separation to grading a grind and pinto, jumbo, fancy, extra fancy, mini, dry and confection, among others. We were able to successfully identify them all and replicate the grade and sort and drop them, by classification, to a specific exit.
Beyond external grading, the group was very interested in internal defect detection. In a demo system built for larger fruit like apples, peaches, oranges and the sort, we over-stepped the boundary ‘reasonable’ and got creative by attempting to internally grade for internal black mold (black promycelium, a common internal defect during seasons of heavy rain) in a ‘date ball,’ ‘mass,’ or ‘wad’ having one bad date encased by multiple good dates. This internal condition, when it appears driven by environmental conditions, has no commercial, system-housed post-harvest sorting/grading solution (to our knowledge) and dates having the problem. Most often, this internal defect requires significant and extremely skilled and experienced human resources sorting by hand and identifying the problem through various ‘markers’ that are often so slight, a miss isn’t out of the question. And, with a miss, that date may show up on a Friday night. Not good.
Question: How’d we do?
Answer: We were successful on this too . . . not one unpleasant date.
The next steps include specifying, manufacturing and installing purpose-built Elisam sizers fit with Ellips electronics that will revolutionize domestic date grading, sorting and packing. Industry leaders want the best, we have it and are prepared to deliver.
With the holidays upon us, give your business a present . . . grade dates accurately, consistently, reliably AND electronically. Here’s to hoping that your next ‘date’ will be graded with ease knowing that you’re saving money and servicing consumer demand with a partner that always offers the best date . . . Friday-after-Friday, day-after-day, season-after-season and year-after-year.