Date of Award:

1965

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Food Science and Technology

Abstract

The fruit production industry is of significant economic importance in the state of Utah. The annual receipts by the producers of fruit is usually between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000 according to Utah Agricultural Statistics (1963). With the farmer receiving only about 38 percent of the consumer's dollar this amounts to approximately $9,000,000 to $15,000,000 total contribution by the fruit industry. The recent trend, however, is a slight reduction in acreage, number of farms, and total production of fruit.

One of the major problems of the fruit industry and all agriculture in the state is the small size of the farms. In our present day of high specialization and modern technology it is not economically possible for the small farms to compete with the large units of other areas, particularly the west coast. Closely allied with this problem is the high value of real estate in the areas climatically suited for the growing of fruit. This latter problem is a result of the competition between fruit producers and home owners for the bench lands near the large towns and cities in the state. This has forced the fruit growers to seek new and lower priced areas for plantings. There has been some success in relocating orchards under new irrigation projects remote from the urban areas where the lower value of land will permit an economical operation. There is room for further expansion, but the size of the farms will need to be increased to provide economical units that can compete favorably with other large production areas.

Utah residents presently consume more fruit than is grown in the state. This is because during the season of production there is a surplus of most of the fruits and a considerable quantity is shipped from the state in the form of fresh fruit. Utah processes a much smaller percentage of its fruit than the national average according to Taylor (1964).

The population of Utah and the neighboring states is rapidly increasing as is the population of the entire country. At the same time the production of fruit is not increasing as is the population of the entire country. At the same time the production of fruit is not increasing at a corresponding rate.

The weather in Utah provides another problem to the fruit industry. Although the weather every place in the United States has a strong bearing on the industry, the effect of the weather is more prevalent in Utah than most areas because of the frequent late spring frosts and the occasional extreme winters. In years when the weather is favorable for high yields a marketing problem exists. The above average crops fail to bring extra revenue because of the lack of markets and often the total revenue is less for the high yields than for the mediocre yields because the excessive supply forces the unit price received by the producer to a point where the gross receipts are less than for the average crop.

These are some of the major problems the fruit industry of Utah faces today. Many have foreseen the solution of the problem to be the expansion of the fruit processing industry in the state. Carpenter (1949) and Nielson (1964) feel that this should be done by small cooperative canneries. Schermerhorn and Korzan (1962) feel that in order to survive the competition a large name brand company would be required. It is unquestioned that a processing industry would be of benefit to the fruit industry in Utah. A processing industry would stabilize prices to a great extent. It would allow the state to be more self-sustaining and provide for possible expansion of the fruit industry. Processing companies have highly skilled research organizations to assist growers in imporoving production. These are many of the things a processing industry has done in other areas and can do in Utah. However, many changes would be required in Utah production to adapt to a processing industry. Some of these changes are: (1) Processors must be insured of a uniform source of supply each year and have fruit available to them not only when the fresh market is oversupplied. (2) The volume of fruit must be large enough to allow for efficiency of the processing plant. (3) Some orchards need to be planted specifically for processing. (4) Quality control must be maintained from the producer right through the processor - the processed product can be no better than the raw material that goes into it. (5) Research must be conducted to determine the best processing varieties, harvest maturities, and ripening procedures. (6) In addition to adequate volume, a sufficient number of commoditites must be grown for processing to add diversification and extend the processing season over a reasonable period of time.

This report concerns the effects of variety, maturity, and storage on the quality and nutritive value of certain fruits processed by freezing and canning with a view to the possibilities of expanding the fruit processing industry in Utah. Several varieties of apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and strawberries were studied. Quality factors studied include: flavor, texture, appearance, and drained weight. Factors considered under nutritive value are: sugars, acidity, and ascorbic acid.

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