The first stage of our processing begins when the bins of fresh berries arrive from our fields. We weigh each bin and take the temperature of each load. We record this data on a tag that also indicates the actual field the berries were harvested in. Then we place all berries in a cooler and bring the ‘field’ temperature down prior to upgrading. This lower temperature helps protect the fruit from being damaged during the various upgrading stages.
Once the berries are cooled, they pass through a number of stages designed to remove foreign material, undersized and clusters of berries, and broken or crushed fruit. These many steps help ensure all our product meets the highest standard; Canada Grade 1.
It’s also at this point that we don’t do something a lot of other processors do, immerse the wild blueberries in chemicals. After a wild blueberry has been soaked it loses its natural ‘bloom’. This is the light coating Mother Nature put there for us to enjoy. It’s what gives a wild blueberry that extra fragrance and sweetness. If Mother Nature wanted you to have it, why should we argue?
Our approach to freezing wild blueberries differs from most. We know if frozen too quickly, a number of them will crack. When that happens, those berries ‘bleed’ when thawed, or used in a baked product. So we slowly freeze our wild blueberries over 3 days, dramatically reducing the number of cracked berries.
Once fully frozen, we screen our wild blueberries again, this time to remove the ‘cap stem’. With that done, bins of berries are combined into 1,500 kg bags and returned to the freezer until packaging.