Fruits are a vital source of nutrients for humans, and they come in various types that can be categorized into climacteric and non-climacteric groups based on their ripening pattern.
Climacteric fruits, such as bananas, apples, avocados, pears, and mangoes, can be harvested when they are under-ripe and will continue to ripen afterward. They produce ethylene gas, which signals to speed up the process and can also cause nearby fruits to ripen faster. Apples can be stored for several months and still remain fresh and flavorful, while avocados are firm when picked and ripen over a few days, making them easy to transport. Pears are often harvested before ripening to prevent bruising during transport, while mangoes can be stored in refrigerated containers to slow down the ripening process.
Examples of Climacteric fruits:
Non-climacteric fruits like citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, dragon fruits and cherries, on the other hand, must be picked when fully ripe, as they do not continue to ripen after being harvested. They do not produce ethylene gas during ripening and do not need to be stored in refrigerated containers. These fruits are often harvested by hand to prevent damage during the harvesting process. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and other citrus fruits are common examples of non-climacteric fruits that must be fully ripe before picking, while grapes, strawberries, and cherries also fall under this category.
This is why when operating a Tower Farm or just growing food on a Tower Garden, it is important to consider whether a fruit is climacteric or not in terms of harvest strategy. For example, cucumbers and aubergines/eggplants will stop ripening after being harvested, while tomatoes will keep on ripening after being picked off the vine.