Picking Standards for orchard
Aotea Macadamias support the New Zealand Macadamia Society http://www.macadamia.co.nz/– Orchard Quality Control Standards:
- Ensure maturity of nut before picking. This should be by means of an independent test or assessment from us. Be aware that different varieties mature at different times.
- Do not pick prior to the last week in July.
- Ensure orchard floor is clean before any nut is picked from the ground. Herbaceous growth must be short and stock must have been removed from the harvest area 3 months prior to collecting nuts. A tarpaulin ground cover can be used to ensure clean nuts, also.
- We do not want to process nuts recovered from lying on the ground, they are probably immature, damaged and unusable. Please do not include nuts with blackened husks.
- If picking direct from the tree do not collect a dropped nut unless the above requirements are met.
- We suggest the use of picking aprons and well aerated bins to put the harvest into before husking. Try to keep the nuts dry.
- Husking must be done very soon after harvest – preferably within 24 hours. Mould and germination starts very soon in stacked nuts and will completely destroy the quality of the product.
- Fill the elevator hopper about one third full with the in husk nuts. The elevator may jamb if too full. Have the sorting rollers, air blade and husker all operating before running the elevator. Run the elevator as slow as possible or it will over run the husker. Watch out for bridging and jamming of nuts in the feed hopper. All will normally run smoothly. The husker chain can be adjusted for tension and feed efficiency. Use a stick to clear blockages and a flexible rod to help waste down the chute now and then. Keep an eye on the hammer mill and discharge chute to ensure a clear discharge.
- Keep a careful check on the nut quality over the inspection rollers.
- Spread each bin of nuts as husked on a air drying rack. Inspect again for quality. Leave stacked to dry for a few days. This will give a good initial moisture reduction gently, moisture content at this stage will be about 20%.
- Air drying on the racks is fine for a long period but try and keep air flow over the racks and watch out for mould forming.
- Move the nuts from the racks to the silos at your discretion. Keep the air flowing from the fans until dried to 10% moisture content. Air flow intermittently to keep the position stable. The nuts are now in storage.
- This is necessary to prepare the nut for cracking. The drying cabinet has nine independent racks each holding 20 kgs of nuts.
- Drying is done at approx 30 C via added heat and dehumidifying. It takes two weeks of this to reduce the moisture to 1.5 % which is necessary for cracking.
- Fill the cracker hopper with dry nut. Ensure the unit is clean and wear the protective clothing. Hand sort from the food belt the kernel from the shell waste. Ensure that all damaged kernel is discarded. There must be no mould, immaturity, bug damage or discolouration in the final product.
- Carefully sort the kernel again and weigh into 3 kg plastic bags and heat seal. You may also weigh into foil bags or different weight bags as necessary and also use vacuum packs.
- Cool storage may be necessary sometimes.
- Prepare the carton, use a plastic inner liner and pack four 3 kg bags of kernel in each carton. Label, invoice and deliver to the courier.
- Edible waste kernel can be sold to some clients.