Castleton, New York-based Windy Hill Orchard was defunct, overgrown and undernourished before it was bought by Todd and Scott Seeberger. Now, in the fourth harvest since purchasing the land, modernizing the facilities and pruning, fertilizing, picking and storing fruit, the farm has transformed into a healthy, sustainable orchard.
Today it produces retail-ready apples that demand postharvest protection to ensure a return on the considerable operational investments that have elevated the orchard’s previous processer-first strategy.
While Windy Hill does have some controlled atmosphere capabilities, sealing off and treating full rooms with 1-MCP fogging just doesn’t make sense for its seasonal operation. So the team at Windy Hill, like so many other medium-to-small-sized growers, felt like it was out of treatment options and sidelined by a legacy 1-MCP fogging solution that can only accommodate larger growers and one workflow. This reality was hard to accept and they had to find a disruptive alternative.
In their research, Windy Hill team member Cody Seeberger came across an article about Chicago-based AgTech company, Hazel Technologies, on LinkedIn. The piece mentioned Hazel's partnerships with growers of all sizes across the U.S. and how its immediate, slow-release of 1-MCP-in-a-packet allows growers to continuously protect and preserve the quality of their fruit without sealing a room or fogging. With Hazel, it seemed Windy Hill would be able to both treat their apples with 1-MCP and maintain the efficient workflows that worked best for their operation.
“After having Hazel visit our orchard, we're really excited about the potential of our partnership and the impact it's going to have on sustained quality and sales. We see Hazel as a company we identify with--as problem solvers always looking for better solutions to dated problems,” said Scott Seeberger.
The team at Windy Hill.
"At Hazel, we talk a lot about 'flexibility' and this an example of a grower with a modern perspective, who has done everything right to be successful, yet feels confined by a 1-MCP technology that is too rigid and one-dimensional to serve its business needs. When smaller, more creative operations like Windy Hill are empowered with the extra time and flexibility that Hazel 100 brings, they can do even more amazing things. We’re excited to see how this partnership can make a difference in its 2022-2023 business and beyond,” said Hazel account executive Joe Parker.