Ovalle is meticulous about teaching workers to pick only ripe, red cherry at the exactly right moment. He’s used analyses of Brix degrees (sugar content) to find the optimal moment at which to pick cherry. Workers selectively handpick cherry according to their training.
After selective handpicking, cherry is carefully sorted to select the best and most ripe cherry using visual inspection and flotation. Cherry that passes Ovalle’s high standards is laid on patios to dry in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight helps to speed up dehydration of the parchment and mucilage. Removing excess moisture as quickly as possible and turning drying parchment frequently can help prevent of drying defects such as phenol and mold.
Cherry is turned frequently, especially during the first 3 to 4 days. During this time, workers go over cherry and remove any damaged cherry to ensure only the highest quality cherry reaches the ensuing stages. Cherry that passes the test is then transferred a greenhouse covered with plastic sheeting, where it will dry on raised beds for an additional 13 to 15 days. In total, cherry takes approximately 18 to 20 days to dry.