Clients and growers for C.M. Holtzinger Fruit Co. are sizing up apples online with a live video feed from the Yakima, Wash.-based company’s packing line.

It’s been available at the website for a few years but is just lately coming into regular use for sales purposes, said Sandra Steineke, director of merchandising.

The camera is near the end of the line where apple trays are about to be loaded in boxes. Grade and size are identified.

“We’ve just had a lot more interest in it and our salespeople started using it as a tool,” Steineke said. “Everybody has a lot more interest these days in where food is coming from and what it looks like. Maybe that’s raising awareness for produce buyers. Maybe it made them think this is a good tool to see what’s being packed in the box.”

“It gives buyers the opportunity to call in and say, ‘I’d like to have some of the red delicious you’re running.’ It also allows our sales people to call up a buyer and say ‘I have this great apple that fits your profile.’ They can sign on and have a conversation while it’s right in front of them.”

For the C.M. Holtzinger Fruit’s growers, who are spread across Washington, it’s an opportunity to view their fruit without traveling to the packinghouse.

“Our growers are just looking to see what the packout is going to be like,” Steineke said. “They had an idea when they were dropping it into the bins, but this just reaffirms that what they thought their crop would look like, it looks like.”