Packhouse is building constructed to facilitate receiving, precooling, grading and packing fresh fruit and vegetables prior to distribution to market. Packhouse can be constructed at farm level or it may construct at retail or wholesale level.
The common operations performed in packhouse are removal of unwanted material(cleaning), sorting, grading and packaging. Packing house has different sections such as reception hall for receiving harvested produce, precooling rooms, packing floors, cold rooms and storage room for packed material and quality analysis chambers and finally dispatch areas. A ‘pack house’ can be used for temporary storage, cleaning, grading and packing the horticultural produce harvested from farm.
After receiving bulk fruits and vegetables, they are unloaded in receiving bins/ reception area and sorted according to quality/size etc. Sorted fruits are then send to washing section where any dirt will wash and air dried. These fruits are then transported via conveyor belt to grade the fruits in different grades. Graded fruits are kept in labeled boxes made of CFB or any suitable packaging material.
Packhouse is thus useful for material handling, holding, pre-inspection of produce, sorting and grading in different grades, washing and packaging. Other unit operations such as pre-cooling, cold storage may also possible in packhouse.
Minimal processing of fruits/vegetables may also undertake if producer think there is scope of minimally processed produce in nearby areas.
In minimal processing, the main aim is to increase the functionality of food (here fruits and vegetables) without much change in their fresh like properties. So minimum processing helps to retain the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables without no change in its appearance.
With the increasing consumer awareness about health, people often gives importance to minimally processed food. Also due to increasing urbanization and looking to convenience, minimally processed fruits and vegetables are preferred.
Some examples of minimal processing of fruits and vegetables are those where cleaning, washing, peeling, trimming, deseeding operations are involved and the produce is presented before consumers by cutting it into specific size. Example: Peeled and cut pieces of sugarcane, minimally processed pomegranate seeds packed in suitable packing etc.
Packaging is very important technique because it attracts consumer and helps to get maximum price for that produce.