Prairie Berries Inc.’s primary handling plant is the largest and most up to date Saskatoon berry handling facility in Canada. Technology such as color sorters, IQF tunnels and large cooling capacity ensure quality specifications are maintained throughout the handling process.
Prairie Berries primary handling plant is Federally Registered #304, operates under a HACCP system, and has implemented the Canadian Horticultural Council’s food safety protocols. These systems, ensure the highest standards of food handling to meet the expectations of the consumer. We are proud of our systems ability to trace every pound of berries back to the grower's orchard offering complete traceability.
We also offer custom processing for Saskatoon Berry producers who wish to ensure their berries are handled in a registered facility using industry standards for food safety and grading.
Primary Handling Facilities
Once a shipment of berries arrives at Prairie Berries’ Federally Registered primary handling facility the berries are quickly moved into a large cooler with a forced air system to move field heat out of the berries and bring them to a temperature of 1° Celsius. From there, the berries are moved to the cleaning/ grading line.
Cleaning & Grading
Berries must be cleaned and graded in a Federally Inspected Primary Processing Plant if they are to be exported outside your provincial borders or if trying to sell into large processors or manufacturing companies. All fruit handled in our facilities are graded to the Canada Grading Standards for Saskatoon berries or using customer specific standards if applicable. Canada grading standards can be found on CFIA's web site.
The quality of Saskatoon berries is defined in terms of chemical, physical and sensory characteristics, mainly sight, smell and feel. Prairies Berries checks Saskatoon berries for visible growth of molds or bacterial rot. Physical analysis includes size, texture , colour, fresh smell and firmness before and after storage.
Saskatoon berries are brought from our cooler and moved onto a stainless conveyor system which removes leaves, stems and other small debris. From there the berries go over a de-stemmer, which removes any stems left on the berries from the harvest process. The berries then pass through a color sorter which separates out the unripe berries from the ripe berries. The berries are then sent down an inspection table where there is a final visual inspection.
Freezing & Packaging
Once the fruit is cleaned and graded it is transferred into the IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) tunnel. Berries will be frozen down in minutes as it passes through the freezing tunnel. The berries are automatically transferred to a filler sytem that weighs and fills the bag and box where it is then packed off onto pallets and moved to freezer storage. Our traceability systems boast the ability to trace every pound of berry back to the grower’s orchard.
As in any Federally Registered plant we are required to meet both the Processed Products Regulations and Labelling Standards required to meet export regulations.
Fundamental to Prairie Berries Inc.'s philosophy is to work together with growers, suppliers, customers, and employees to develop long term cooperative alliances by which all parties find mutual benefit through the production, processing, and marketing of Saskatoon berries.
To provide an integrated operation of primary handling, processing and marketing so growers across Western Canada have a sales channel for their saskatoon berry production with an expectation of a fair return.
To develop relationships that allow mutually agreed standards of excellence in the services and products provided by our suppliers.
To provide the our customers world wide, quality saskatoon berry products while ensuring safe food and a secure supply of berries to meet their market place needs.