Staff Writer Vicky Boyd collected these news items at the Northwest Horticultural Expo Dec. 3-4 in Yakima, Wash.

Macro Plastics Inc.

Macro Plastics Inc., Fairfield, Calif., is known for its large plastic bins. But it was the much smaller MacroTote 9-FV that captured a lot of attention at the company’s booth.

Bruce Hale, international sales, in the company’s Union Gap, Wash., office, said he came up with the design about three years ago after watching cherry harvest crews struggle with corrugated plastic picking tubs.

Empty bins stuck together when nested, and workers struggled to pull them apart. The bottoms also sagged when full of fruit.

The 11-by-17-by-8.5-inch MacroTote features vents for improved cooling and fumigation.

Inside the tote is a high-fruit line mark, so workers don’t overfill the bin. Each tote holds 20 pounds up to the line or 26 pounds to the top.

Macro Plastics also has begun renting larger bins to growers and packers, especially those with seasonal commodities such as onions and peppers.

“It’s a way to stick their toe in the water,” Hale said.

Northwest Horticultural Expo BriefsMiller Produce

Phil Miller, owner of Miller Produce, Manistee, Mich., drew from his personal experience as a peach grower to develop the Cinch, a mechanical peach, cherry and nectarine bloom thinner. Attached to a half-inch drill, it removes extraneous blooms between the popcorn and full bloom stage.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada, showed off its Arctic family of non-browning apples at the Northwest Horticultural Expo, Dec. 3-4, in Yakima, Wash.

Breeders used genetic engineer to turn off the genes responsible for turning cut apple slices brown, said Joel Brooks, marketing communications specialist.

The first two varieties that contain the genetic transformation will be granny smith and golden delicious. Subsequent releases will include gala and fuji.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service requested initial public comments on deregulating the fruit in September.

A second public comment period is expected in early 2013.

Brooks said the company is anticipating that APHIS will announce sometime during the second quarter of 2013 that Arctic apples won’t have to be regulated. The company, however, plans a grower stewardship program that include buffers.

Northwest Horticultural Expo BriefsSpensa Technologies

Kim Nicholson, vice president of business development for Spensa Technologies, West Lafayette, Ind., shows off the Z-Trap, which allows growers and consultants to monitor orchard pests remotely. Sensors in the trap can differentiate among three pests: codling moth, omnivorous leafroller or oriental fruit moth.