41 minutes | Oct 29th 2020

Optical Sorting Technology

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In recent years, advancements in optical sorting technology have been rapid. This is a result of companies like MAF-Roda Optical Sorting taking feedback from their customers and implementing changes to their optical sorters quickly. In the latest episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” we have a conversation with a manufacturer and a customer of optical sorters and discuss the benefits they bring to blueberry harvesting operations. 

Hosts Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), and Rod Cook, industry veteran and the chair of the Blueberry Technology and Innovation Committee, are joined by Ellie Norris of Norris Blueberry Farms and Bryan Brown off MAF-Roda Optical Sorting.


“In a broad sense, a sorting machine allows us to sort imperfect blueberries from blueberries that are up to the standard we want.” - Ellie Norris


“We’re looking at each piece of produce and determining the quality of it individually … When you look at the quality difference of what is the old technology and what is coming out now in the last three years, it’s a completely different deal.” - Bryan Brown


Topics covered include: 

  • Norris and Brown’s background in the blueberry industry.
  • Broad functions of optical sorters.
  • Rapid improvement of optical sorting technology in recent years.
  • How MAF custom makes each sorter to fit the needs of the operation.
  • Detecting internal bruising. 
  • Labor savings from using optical sorters.


Marketing Boost

Also included in this week’s episode is the new Marketing Boost segment from Jeni Sparks, USHBC and NABC vice president of marketing & communications. In this week’s Boost, Sparks touches on the importance of authenticity. 


Crop Report - October 28, 2020 

The Blueberry Crop Report is an update on crop conditions and markets throughout North America. In this episode, you’ll hear from Jose Luis Bustamante in Mexico and Luis Vegas in Peru. This was recorded on October 27, 2020.



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