Whether you grow and sell granny smiths, galas, or honey crisps, apples reign as a hot commodity at markets; everyone knows about apples! They are the first word taught when teaching kindergartners "A" in the alphabet, and they appear in numerous popular sayings, from, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" to, "The apple of my eye." Plus, their sweet, tart, and crisp flavors make them an ideal ingredient for many favorite dishes like pies, snacks, treats, and juices.
How you transport your fresh-picked apples from your farm to the market is an important factor to consider. No matter how far you travel, various external factors and influences can affect your special delivery during the trip. Some of the biggest risks that hinder the quality of your apples include bruising, insects, and heat. Here are some tips on how to ensure your apples make it to the market unharmed and in their prime condition.
Heat affects various fresh produce, causing them to break down and age faster. Like most foods, certain temperatures do a number on apples. Exposure to too much heat causes apples to brown, soften, and decay. Their ideal storing temperatures range between 32 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Securing your apples in cool and concealed carriers ensures they stay fresh and in top condition, especially during long trips between the orchard and market.
Depending on your mode of transportation, there are various ways to control the temperature and atmospheric conditions of your apples. Coolers are specifically designed to act as on-the-go refrigerators. They trap cool air into a concealed box, especially when paired with ice packs, and offer plenty of space for numerous goods. For larger hauls, delivery trucks and vans with temperature-controlled trunks provide you with the means to track and create the ideal storage atmosphere you and your products desire.
Apples bruise easily when in contact with hard surfaces and under applied pressure. To the consumer, bruised and softened apples lack appeal and are commonly left for last pickings. During the trip to the market, any major bumps, sudden movements, and turns can cause the apples to roll, roam, and collide with various surfaces and other apples. Placing them in a contained carrier like a box or crate ensures they stay in place and avoid collisions that could leave them bruised or damaged.
Using contained carriers to hold your apples also prevents any runaway produce. Due to their circular shape, placing apples in open bags or freely into the trunk of a car allows them to roll around and slip away. The more the apples move, the more likely they are to get damaged.
Along with transporting the apples in a contained carrier, using packing separators and buffers prevents the apples from colliding and bruising one another. Packing protectors come in various forms, from sheets of padding to cardboard dividers. They create buffer zones between the apples, securing them in place and separating them from harm and one another. Plus, adding padding or wrapping your apples prevents punctures and abrasions to the skin, on top of minimizing risks of bruising. As a bonus, packing separators and buffers also organize your deliveries.
Once your merchandise gets stored in a carrier and padded with buffers, securing the cargo adds an extra step of precaution. Like free-roaming apples, the various movements and pulls of gravity that occur along the way to the destination cause unsecured items to jostle. Although carriers are first in line when it comes to external contact, any severe damages to the cargo potentially also affect the items it carries. Strapping the carriers in or minimizing wiggle room reduces the risks of accidents.
Unlike handling furniture or clothes, food handling involves various health and safety concerns. Despite their protective layer of skin, apples are still susceptible to a range of contaminants. Common possible contaminations that might occur during transportation include:
- Cross-contamination from other produce
- Dust and dirt buildup
- Carryback from sticky residues
These contaminants become even more harmful when they penetrate into the apple's flesh. Sealing your fresh pickings in apple fruit bags
adds an extra layer of protection and keeps your produce away from harm's reach. The bags are also easy to sanitize, ensuring your produce stays clear from contaminants and other external influences. Wearing gloves during packing and unpacking and cleaning your transportation and carriers before placing the apples onboard further minimizes contamination risks.
Humans aren't the only ones who enjoy the sweet and tart flavors of an apple. Ants, flies, and other insects and living creatures also love an apple's tang and fruity sensations. Unlike large mammals and rodents, insects' small bodies make it harder to lock them out. Flies and ants somehow always find a way into enclosed spaces, squeezing in between mini cracks and open seals. Once they get to your fruits and veggies, they contaminate the load and decrease the quality and cleanliness of your products.
Pesticides work efficiently to detract insects. However, they often include harsh chemicals that further contaminate and hinder the quality of your goods. The next best way to keep the insect at bay is to seal the apples up in an air-tight bag or container. Making sure your transport vehicle doesn't have any nests, preexisting roaming insects, and other insect attractors also reduces the risks of insect invasions. The longer the trip, the higher the risks of unwanted invasions.
Rain and humidity are nature's biggest threats against your apples. Although an apple's skin provides a natural water-proof barrier, too much water and moisture exposure negatively affects your apples. Soaked apples soften and become more susceptible to bruising, skin peeling, and mold growth. Similarly, consistent exposure to humidity creates ideal atmospheres for mold and decay. Plus, both rain and humid atmospheres attract insects. Covering and placing your apples in weather-proof carriers ensures the moisture and rain stay out of the way.
How you pack your apples affects whether they make it to the market unharmed. To ensure their safety, use the right carriers and certain practices, like the above-mentioned, to reduce any potential risks during transportation.
Globe Bag Company offers various apple carriers and packaging options that help secure and protect your fresh produce from any harm. Not only can you use the bags for transporting your apple pickings to the market, but you can also use them to pack your customers’ purchases, so they can ensure the safety of their apples when bringing them home.