Those familiar with the fruit and vegetable processing industries are aware of the serious problems of the seasonal processor. The short and hectic harvest season produces a number of conditions that reduces the effectiveness of these horticultural industries. Some of the more serious problems include the following:
Short supply of labor
Over production of certain products
Large capital investment
Sizable inventory expenses
Large warehousing costs
Large waste disposal load over a short period of time
Man has depended upon fresh commodities for proper nutrition. However, history reveals that early voyages stopped abruptly upon the exhaustion of the fresh food supply, armies starved as their rations spoiled and became depleted, and settlers died during the winter months due to an insufficient supply of nutritious foods. In order to provide an adequate diet the year around, deterioration of the perishable foodstuffs had to be eliminated. Thus, the beginning and justification of modern food processing.
Tomato fruit were found to accumulate at optimum harvest in proportions of 52-55% all red, 15-20% orange, 7-10% pink, and 15-26% green or overripe. A harvest ratio of 8 parts all red, 3 parts orange, and 1 part pink fruit gave a USDA tomato color index reading ranging from 66.1 to 67.4. In comparison, the all red fruit portion produced a 68.9 to 73.0 color index. Quality changes of the 8:3:1 blend processed juice were found in color, flavor, and ascorbic acid content, but the blends from all cultivars appeared to be commercially acceptable. Taste panel tests indicated no significant preference for all red over blended juice samples. The pH, titratable acidity, and refractive index were not significantly altered by the use of less than red ripe fruit. Utilizing the single harvest ratio of all red, orange, and pink fruits increased per acre yields 20-30%.