Molded fruit

Chinese businessman Steven Ding is selling plastic molds that can transform round or pear-shaped fruit into weird and wonderful shapes while they’re growing on the tree.

Ding said this type of mold was invented by a Chinese farmer a few years ago, and he has been collecting differently shaped molds from all over China for the past two years. The mold is applied to the fruit while it is small and removed after the fruit has grown to fill the mold. The fruit will continue to grow in the unusual shape as it matures. Though the process sounds easy, there are many details that are critical for success, Ding warns.

The molds can be used on any fruit with a soft pit, such as pear, apple, tomato, watermelon, cucumber, and others.

For information, e-mail or check the Web site at

Valent acquires Pace for $65m

Valent BioSciences Corporation has acquired Pace International LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of postharvest products, equipment, and services for the fruit and vegetable industry, for $65 million. Valent previously owned 25 percent of the company.

Pace specializes in developing and commercializing coatings, sanitizers, and postharvest disease management products to maintain quality and improve storability of fruits and vegetables. The company is based in Seattle, Washington, and has a research and development, manufacturing, and administrative facility in Wapato, Washington. It also has operations in Mexico and South America and employs 100 people worldwide. Roberto Carpentier, vice president of sales and marketing for the past eight years, has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer at Pace, reporting to Michael Donaldson, president and chief executive officer of ValentBioSciences.

Valent, based in Libertyville, Illinois, specializes in developing and commercializing environmentally compatible pesticides and growth regulators for managing plant growth, quality, and stress in production agriculture. It is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Company of Tokyo, Japan.

Cracking control

Cultiva, based in Portland, Oregon, has partnered with Oregon State University to commercialize a product called Parka that is designed to prevent cherry cracking.

Parka is an organic, food-grade material derived from OSU’s SureSeal technology that will not affect taste, according to Sean Musser, managing partner of Cultiva. The active ingredient forms a hydrophobic biofilm over the cuticle of the cherry, which allows the product to expand and provides continuous protection as the cherry rapidly expands during its final growth stages.
For more information, check the Web site www.cultiva or call (312) 806-6990.