Untied States Patent Number 4,472,444, September 18, 1984.
Also available from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Website: http://www.uspto.gov.
Method and apparatus for de-stemming picked tomatoes. Each tomato is introduced into the upper end of a generally vertically disposed, open-ended, resilient, open-mesh fabric tube, a substantial portion of which approximates but is larger than the diameter of the tomato. The stem penetrates into and through the open mesh at some point, the open areas being somewhat larger than the stem, while the tomato continues to fall, thereby exerting a bending moment on the stem that snaps the stem from the fruit. The tomato, free from its stem, is discharged from a lower end of the tube.
Agricultural and Resource Economics | Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering