What’s been going on!
Emergency trip to Wilson yesterday morning for tomato boxes, we all forget about one of the hidden parts of producing food, how does it get from the plant to the market table or the back of the restaurant or grocery store? For all growers but especially small ones with limited resources, containers are a serious cost and hassle.
We all start out scrounging boxes from produce departments but you have to be careful that they are clean and not too torn up. With the new food safety rules you not supposed to re-use cardboard boxes unless they have a liner. New waxed boxes can cost up to $2.50 each and un-waxed boxes a dollar and a half or more. So every time you send a box off you will probably never see it again, especially wholesale. Some of the restaurants will bring them back but mostly they go in the trash. Even worse, the waxed boxes used for wet items like greens cannot be recycled or composted and have to go to the landfill.
Way back in 2004 we decided that the box chase and cost was too much and invested in food grade plastic returnable containers for all of our greens and other items that normally would go into a waxed box. We knew that in Europe there were essentially no cardboard boxes, all we would see is plastic or wood. After lots of research we ended up with our now familiar white crates with lids. They were not cheap at $11.00 each but all it would take was to reuse them four or five times and they would be paid for in waxed boxes we would never see again.
Now twelve years later it has been fantastic, Weaver Street Market holds them for us to pick up at the next delivery just like they do milk crates or other similar boxes. The restaurants hold them or bring them back to the next market. It works great. We do have to wash them between uses but that is far cheaper than buying new boxes.
We would love to find a plastic container for tomatoes that we like and stop using card board boxes but just haven’t found one than meets our requirements. Because most of the tomatoes go to market or restaurants we almost always get them back and can reuse them many times before having to buy new ones so it is less of an issue and they can be recycled or composted too.
Picture of the Week
Lettuce in crates with removable lids
What’s going to be at the market?
Did you donate to RAFI? Let’s talk this week. If you have RAFI thanks you!
Just in time for July 4th more tomatoes this week, with red Big Beefs, Orange Blossom and Kellogg’s Breakfast in yellows, Cherokee Purples, yellow and red Striped Germans, Cherokee Greens, pink German Johnsons. Sungolds, Mixed Cherries and Blush too. Italian Parsley and Basil. The first of the cured sweet Red Onions. Lots of Cucumbers. Shishito peppers.
We have some of the green and red Summer Crisp lettuce as well as the last week for Little Gem. Beautiful Lacinato/Dinosaur/Cavalo Nero Kale but it is nearing the end of it’s run too. Callaloo is back! Actually an amaranth, the Jamaican spinach, great for a fast sauté.
More and more flowers. Fragrant Oriental Lilies. Gloriosa Daisies (black eyed Susans) and Sunflowers. Dayglo Dainthus and Zinnias. Deep colored Plume Celosia. As always, amazing Bouquets.
As a reminder if there is anything that you would like for us to hold for you at market just let us know by e-mail, by the evening before, and we will be glad to put it aside for you. Just so you know, sometimes not everything listed will be at the Wednesday market.
Hope to see you all at the market!
Alex, Betsy and Jennie
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