May 3, 2017
So, you’ve got your veggies from the farm and they look delicious. But how do you keep them fresh? You could check out the Storage Tips page in the Produce section of our website. It’s a wealth of information. However, in this post I’m going to focus on fresh green leafy vegetables.
Leafy veg from our farm arrives in your hands in one of two ways. You could receive a large bunch of leafy stems such as kale, rainbow chard, Asian greens, silverbeet or herbs held together with an elastic band. Or, your leafy greens might come as baby leaves like lettuce, rocket, spinach, beet or turnip leaves. The large bunches should be dunked in a sink of cold water and drained briefly before being stored in a plastic bag or wet tea towel in the fridge. They are hardy enough to withstand transport from the farm to your house without suffering and will last a few days if kept slightly moist like this.
It is more difficult to deliver fresh baby leaves without them dehydrating. They need to be in an airtight container of some sort. This is why supermarket salad mixes are sold in plastic bags or clam shells. Small leaves taste delicate and look beautiful but loose moisture easily and become a wilting mess if not cared for properly. This is why ours come in plastic zip lock bags. You need to be able to reclose the bag in the fridge as you use the produce during the week, to keep it airtight. However, this leaves a lot of plastic bags that could end up in landfill after only a single use. To avoid this, consider rinsing, drying and reusing your zip lock bag after it is empty, or recycle it along with other soft plastics at your local supermarket. Food safety standards prevent us from reusing the bags on the farm as they can’t easily be sterilised.
However, we are on the lookout for an alternative. Compostable sugar cane clamshells are one option. These cost 50c each which is about 5 times the price of a zip lock bag. They also still require a manufacturing plant and transport and could easily become a single use product. Not ideal. Another possibility is some sort of returnable container such as a large glass jar that can be sterilised at the farm before being reused the next week. We would need two sets and as the farm grows this could mean a lot of washing and sterilising. However, it may be an answer.
This is a conundrum and we haven’t given up solving it yet. We would love to hear packaging suggestions from our members – and what you like and don’t like about how your produce is packaged. We strive to be as sustainable as possible. So go on, share your tips with us and help your farm step lightly on the Earth.
Yours in veg,