The cherry is well marketed, as it is the first stone fruit to enter the market, and the extra-early and extra-late varieties are highly valued, as they are paid at a higher price than the rest of the varieties. Thanks to the good marketing prices and the fact that the cultivation costs are not very high (the highest is harvesting, which accounts for approximately 50%), it is a very profitable crop.
Cherry blossoms usually take place each year in the period between the end of March and the beginning of April (for most varieties), and usually last about 15-20 days. But it must be taken into account that the flowering dates are conditioned by the weather, especially by the cold we have during the winter, and by the variety. These and other aspects of cherry ripening were discussed in previous articles, which you can consult by clicking here.
The cherry is a fruit that, although it does not usually present problems to reach commercial maturity, advances of a few days in ripening can trigger significant differences in sales prices. You can consult the tests carried out on the advancement of ripening and uniformity of cherry color carried out in 2018 and 2019.
The preservation of the quality of cherries after harvest presents several problems due to the characteristics of the fruit, which is extremely delicate and is subject to infections by pathogens, dehydration of the pedicel, loss of firmness of the pulp, oxidation or browning, splitting and surface pitting, etc.
Some of the cherry post-harvest handling alternatives are:
- Pre-cooling or reduction of field temperature with forced air or ice water and storage in chambers at 0 ºC and relative humidity greater than 95%.
- Use of a controlled atmosphere (CA) with concentrations of 1-5% oxygen and 5-20% CO2 allow lower respiratory activity and reduce senescence phenomena in cherries.
- The maintenance of the fruit in a modified atmosphere (MA) means lower costs and easier application. For example, the use of semi-permeable transparent film allows respiratory activity to be reduced, minimizing moisture loss. It requires that the cold chain (0-5 ºC) be maintained throughout the marketing period, since if this is not done, anaerobic fermentative processes may appear. It has the advantage that modified atmosphere packaging allows for direct sale to distribution.
CA and MA have a series of limitations during post-harvest handling. In general, for cherries, the CA technique has a low application due to the high investment and operation costs that are not justified by the period of conservation of the fruit. The limitation of MA is due to the type of plastic film used, since to obtain optimal gaseous concentrations, poorly permeable films should be used, effective at low temperatures, while the thermal conditions of the shelves of distribution chains are usually higher than 10ºC.
From Cultifort we propose a complementary management to the techniques mentioned, recommending the applications of SPIRALIS Long Life during the cultivation phase, with the aim of improving the quality of the fruit and its post-harvest life.
SPIRALIS Long Life is a fertilizer solution that contains a complex of organic acids and selected peptides related to green and red algae, which facilitate its assimilation by the plant in a systemic way, both ascending and descending, and enhance the bioprotective effect against various types of stress.
SPIRALIS Long Life is specially formulated to significantly improve self-defense against fungi and bacteria, among other pathogens.
SPIRALIS Long Life works in two steps. Firstly, structural changes are produced in the cell walls, reinforcing and increasing the consistency of the fruits and, secondly, a greater synthesis of molecules with high defensive capacity such as PR proteins and phytoalexins is induced. Post-harvest life is favored, therefore, thanks to this brake imposed on the conditions and processes of fruit degradation.
With the help of SPIRALIS Long Life, the farmer will be able to obtain greater profitability from his crop, due to the longer post-harvest life of the cherries, which will improve the period of commercialization and distribution of the fruit, both in international markets and in the national market.