12 Step Grading and Packing process at Carisbrooke Valley Packhouse

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly humble pocket of oranges, or for that matter, a box of export fruit! The journey is far and with many steps required for it to get where it is! I have been focusing on citrus this month and have been on a few citrus-focused shoots in the way of harvesting and pack house operations in the Limpopo Province and just recently, in my own neck of the woods, Ixopo.

Carisbrooke Valley Citrus pack house is nestled in the beautiful valley of Carisbrooke, made famous by Alan Paton’s book, Cry the Beloved Country. It receives, grades and packs oranges and lemons from farms in the area and supplies both local and export markets. Export markets include countries such as Japan, Russia and Saudi Arabia with each country having different packing and export requirements.

Thank you to the Carisbrooke Valley Citrus team for giving me the opportunity to capture this intensive grading operation/process. There are many processes involved in a pack house from washing, waxing, labelling and photographing every individual citrus fruit from all angles…and there are thousands and thousands of oranges and lemons that go through the system every day! It’s quite incredible!

A gallery of the Carisbrooke Valley Citrus grading and packing operation in stages

1. Degreening the citrus – the process of removing the green colouring by introducing measured amounts of ethylene gas into a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

Degreening citrus

2. Citrus Wash

Washed oranges

3. Initial grading process done by hand

4. Waxing Process

5. Oranges coming out of the drier post the waxing process

Oranges coming out of the drier post waxing

6. 1st and 2nd grade citrus being graded by Carisbrooke Staff

The Grading Control Operator

7. Oranges separated for local consumption, packed into netted sacks

8. Cardboard boxes for local and export citrus

9. Computerised Grading – a photo is taken of every orange from every angle and graded according to size and quality

10. Packing the citrus into boxes for export

11. Labelling the orders

12. Crates used for export

Lianne provides agricultural and documentary imagery for websites, advertising, training manuals, webinars and imagery for editorial purposes.  If you would like to know more about Lianne’s services, please contact Lianne here with your enquiry or request.

Published by Lianne Ashton

Lianne Ashton is an agricultural photographer based in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She does commercial, documentary and environmental portraiture for agricultural organisations, as well as editorial work. Lianne is also the the author and photographer of the blog 'Africa far and wide; a visual journey into the Africa she knows;' featuring travel in Africa, social documentary photography and writing.