I wish I had taken a photo of our approach to loading and transporting CSA boxes last year, the first year of Vanessa's and my new farm business. It was a shit show. We spent a lot of time diving into the cardboard dumpster of our local organic grocer last year to get recycled cardboard boxes that, owing to their miscellany of sizes, couldn't be stacked. This limited us to cramming no more than 18 at a time in Tiny Tim, our dinky red Mazda pickup. Delivery to local residents would start at 5pm, and in the height of summer we were usually dealing with 30 C temperatures. Most of the boxes were open on top, so wilt was always a problem. Our solution was to hang a clean bedsheet on the clothesline, spray it down, then drape it over the whole shebang. We knew the system sucked and vowed to fix it going into season 2.
We did! To a large extent, anyway. I still want to tweak the system, but here's what we figured out for this season:
Ok, so we like the system a lot but found that the icepack deal on the bottom of each bin isn't very effective at keeping veggies cool in high heat. I think it's because the sun is beating down from above combined with, you know, the tendency of heat to rise in the bin. After a 30 minute drive in the heat I'll pull off a bin lid and feel a little puff of warm air blasting out. Next year I think I'll put the 'riser' on top, place the icepack on top of that, and replace the mesh with something that will prevent condensation from leaking down onto the veggie bags.
I anticipate questions about why we're not just using cloth bags. Mainly it's because I've found customers too unreliable about consistently returning them each week (this was the case with the cardboard boxes last year). Another thing I like about the paper shopping bags is that you don't have to hold them open while loading them.
Any of you got ideas for improving this system or for another one altogether? Please share a comment, or send me photos of yours.