Choosing Crates for Taking Your Produce From the Field to the Market

When you're a farmer, you have to get your produce from the fields to the markets. That process requires the right crates or shipping containers. There are so many elements you should keep in mind when you are choosing your crates. Here are just a few of the things you should consider:

1. Food Safety

When you're packaging food, the most important thing is food safety. To that end, if you're buying wooden crates, you need to ensure that they have not been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals that you don't want on your food. In particular, if you are an organic farmer, you need to ensure that you don't go to all the trouble of keeping your produce chemical free and then introducing toxins in the shipping process.

In that same vein, if you are using plastic crates, you need to ensure that they are rated for use with food. If the crates leech some of their plastics into the food, that may be undesirable.

2. Size

There are all kinds of sizes when it comes to crates. For the sake of convenience, you may want to opt for large crates, but you also have to think of the impact on your produce, and that varies based on the type of produce you are packing. For instance, if you are shipping potatoes, apples, or other hardy roots and fruits, they can withstand being in a big pile without bruising.

On the other hand, if you are shipping more tender items such as ripe peaches or apricots, they won't be able to withstand the pressure of being on the bottom of a huge crate full of stuff. As a result, instead of receiving nice fruit, your clients may receive smashed fruit. To avoid that, you need smaller crates for that type of produce.

3. Portability

Of course, you also need to think about portability. How are you going to move the crates from place to place? If you've got all kinds of equipment on hand, you may want big crates with a pallet type design on their base. Then, you can lift those crates with your forklift and put them onto a truck for shipping. If you want to use small crates for the reasons discussed above, you may want stackable crates that can easily be loaded onto a pallet or stacked for transport with a sack barrow.

If you have a smaller operation, you may want crates with ergonomic handles. That way, you can carry the crates comfortably to the field, load them up, and then ship or transport as desired.