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Manual picking and mechanical harvesting of sour cherry fruit ‘Nefris’ and fruit quality

Jolanta A. Szymczak*, Paweł Wawrzyńczak**

**Department of Fruit Storage and Processing
**Department of Mechanization
**Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture
**Pomologiczna 18, 96-100 Skierniewice, Poland

The experiment was established in 1997 in the experimental orchard of the Institute of Pomology and Floriculture at D±browice. Mechanical harvest of fruit of sour cherry ‘Nefris’ began in 1999. The results of three years of study (1999-2001) are presented here. Quality of fruit after the mechanical harvest was evaluated in comparison to that of fruit after manual picking. Immediately after the harvest, percentages of the following groups of fruit were calculated: mature, with no damage; immature; with stem; with damage (mechanical and other). After sorting, the quality of mature fruit was described by the physical, chemical, and sensory parameters. Suitability of sour cherry fruit for processing after mechanical harvesting was tested on compotes and frozen fruit.

Over 85% of the crop consisted of good quality fruit (mature and without damage). The remainder of the fruit had damage, mainly frost-related (small fruits, not coloured, malformed). Mechanical harvesting caused no significant mechanical damage in comparison with manual picking. Fruit with mechanical damage was below 2% of the total crop for both harvesting methods. Harvesting methods had no effect on quality parameters. Sensory analysis of sour cherry compotes showed that the products showed very good overall quality. The appearance of skin did not show changes which could be attributed to bruising during the mechanical harvesting. The frozen sour cherry fruits after mechanical harvesting had a more attractive appearance; they retained their original shape and also received higher notes in hardness when compared with the fruit collected manually.

Szymczak J.A., Wawrzyńczak P., 2001. Manual picking and mechanical harvesting of sour cherry fruit ‘Nefris’ and fruit quality. Folia Horticulturae 13/2: 111-119.