We have changed our packaging for pre-bagged greens! The new bag, is available for 4oz and 8oz bags of salad mix, lettuce mix, leaf lettuce, and other greens. It is a clear cellophane, made from sustainably harvested wood pulp. The entire production of the bag itself is carbon neutral, and we seal it without a tie! It is home compostable, so no need to find an industrial composting facility.
Unlike our home compostable produce bags (made from corn), these bags are clear, rather than green. So you get a great view of the greens inside. They should also provide a great environment to extend the storage life of your greens (though we already get chefs raving that our greens are better after three weeks in their cooler than the big distributors’ as they come off the truck).
We’re proud to be able to maintain our commitment to no single use plastic, despite the restrictions on loose sales of greens due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Check them out in our online store for delivery or pickup, or visit us Saturday for the first Mishawaka Farmers’ Market of the season!
I very appreciate that you are using the sustainable packaging for greenery. May I ask you for some information on a clear cellophane, made from sustainably harvested wood pulp and where can I buy it?
We have a few sources for our various sustainable packaging products. The salad green bags we get from Nashville Wraps – the clear compostable cellophane bags. Our bread packaging comes from FoodBizSupply. Most of the rest of our packaging comes from a local discount place if we get lucky and they have it, or from Good Start Packaging. It’s always good to get packaging locally, if possible. In addition to increasing the carbon footprint from shipping individual cases to you, the shipping costs often exceed the cost of the packaging itself!
How are you Chad?
Hoping you’d be willing to share your experience with switching to cellophane. I’m trying to find a replacement for plastic and doing a ton of loose greens at my farm. Hoping you’d be willing to share your experiences.
We’ve enjoyed the switch to compostable cellophane. It does a good job helping the greens stay fresh, and looks very nice on display.
Compared with plastic, there is a smaller variety of sizes to choose from, the cost is higher, and sealing options a little different: tying does not work well because it tears, and a tape type sealer doesn’t seal very well. We use an electric impulse sealer to heat seal the bag. it generally works well, but if there’s much air in the bag and it gets squeezed, it can pop open. And it takes about 5 seconds to seal, which is considerably longer than using a tape seal on a plastic bag.
Our customers seem to appreciate it, though. And, if we don’t sell out, I really appreciate being able to just dump the overage into the compost bin, rather than emptying bags.
We are still using the corn-based produce bags for pre-ordered greens, though. They are less expensive, faster to close (we just spin the bag closed), and the greens last a few days longer in them. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see through them for pre-orders, so we like that.
Anyway, that’s a general overview of the pros and cons from our experience. Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I’ll do my best to help!
So great to see you using nonplastic for greens. How did your 2021 season go with it? What size bags are using for the greens? I’ve noticed my biobags get icky sticky feeling after coming in contact with moisture (even ‘dried’ ready to go lettuce). How do these bags fair?
Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment!
The cellophane bags worked well for our season. Customers appreciated them, and the greens look really nice in them. I know what you mean about the biobags getting “sticky,” and the cellophane do not. Sometimes, though, a damp leaf will stick to the inside of the bag, and you have to almost peel it off. However, they don’t compost quite as quickly as the biobags do. So I still use those for large items like onions, potatoes, squash, etc.
We use the 7″ x 15″ bag for our 4 oz greens, and the 9″ x 12″ bag for our 8 oz greens. The former is a bit larger than I would like, and the latter a bit smaller, but they look good next to each other on the stand. I would like to offer a 1 lb bag, but haven’t found a non-plastic option that is suitable yet.
We just received our first cello bags from Nashville Wraps and are trying them this week. We do notice a build up of moisture in the bag and are waiting to see how that works out. We’re currently sealing with a rubber band while we trial and if it works, may move to a heat sealer.
We hope to transition to these from our current bio-plastic zip recloseable bag from Green Line, which is commercially compostable. We really like them, but would prefer to find something home compostable.
We also just started using sustainably harvested beechwood fiber net bags that are home compostable from Ocean Farm Supply to use for onions, etc.. Loving these.
Thanks for posting your experiences and the tip about the exploding bags!
Glad you’re giving them – and less destructive packaging in general – a try!
We haven’t noticed any more moisture build up with the cellophane bags than plastic. But we usually harvest and wash one day, and pack the next. So the greens are already cold and dry when they’re packed. And we pack in an air conditioned room. so we shouldn’t have much condensation. Only moisture to build up would come from the respiration of the greens, which is reduced under refrigeration.
We use “commercially compostable” PLA clamshells and the like, but I’m not sure they really offer much improvement over plastic in our context. There is no commercial composting facility that can accept them anywhere near us. On the other hand, recycling of plastic clamshells is problematic, and they generally get discarded. We figure, if they’re both going to end up in the landfill anyway, at least the PLA ones were made from plants rather than oil, and they will (eventually) break down in the landfill, to turn into methane, and then electricity. Though our local landfill does use landfill gas to produce electricity (which greatly reduces the smell factor!), it’s pretty dirty, and who knows if they’ll still be doing so decades from now?
We hate packaging in general, but until we find away to deliver everything loose-packed…
The fiber net bags sound cool. I’ll have to look into those! We usually just use the green biobags for onions and such. But they don’t breathe well enough in the short term. In the long term, they tend to decompose long before such long-storage foods start to go bad, which is also annoying…
We’re having a real problem with the cellophane and wilted produce. It lasts for just a couple of days before drooping. We need something that will hold for a week.
We’ve been using Greenline bags, but they’re not home compostable and don’t come in sizes larger than 9 x 12″.
Wondering what we’re doing wrong if your produce is staying fresh in them. For how long?
Sorry for the late response – I didn’t get a notification of your comment.
We have gotten good shelf life from our greens in the cellophane bags. On par with the green “biobags” we use for online orders (they compost more quickly and are faster to pack, but you can’t see through them for market display), usually around 10-18 days. The key seems to be keeping them cold.
We typically harvest first thing in the morning two days before a market, and immediately place the greens in a walk-in cooler. We wash and dry the greens that evening or following day (so wash water and produce temperature are within 10 degrees), then pack the evening before. They go right back into the cooler, then stay in a refrigerated truck until they’re placed on display.
The bags are very clear, so if your market display is in the sun, your greens may be cooking. We do everything possible to keep our greens out of the sun. We also have open-front display coolers with frozen containers of water to keep the greens marginally cooler than the outdoor temperature.
Only other thing I can think of that may or may not be important is we use an impulse sealer to close the bags. It may be that your rubber band closure allows the humidity to escape too quickly and they dry out? Have you tried that yet? I wouldn’t think it would make a big difference, but could be wrong…
Hi Chad, I so appreciated you responding. I know the extra effort it takes.
We’re selling our bagged produce at a farm stand in a fridge that, while it’s supposed to be 35 degrees, actually runs around 40 – 44 with the shelves blocking the fan. No sun.
Our storage cooler is 35, but we had the same problem, although it was delayed by a day or two. Cold does seem to influence it and I can’t get the large refrigerators in the stand to be any colder.
Bunched produce is washed , shaken dry and then bagged and sealed with a rubber band.
Haven’t tried the baby greens mixes with it yet.
I wondered about the heat sealer, but couldn’t imagine that it would lose that much. I didn’t want to buy one until we tested it. I may have to anyway, just in case. Which we have to be for next season, as our fields are closed for the year.
I’ll be sure to report!
Were you able check out the net bags from Ocean Farm? We are loving these.
I’ll review your methods and try again next season.
Have a happy winter and great hopes for the next growing season!
Hrmmmm. We keep our walk in cooler at 39 most of the year, and the truck at 41 (and it has a wide thermostat delta of about +4 and -3 degrees), so the aggregate temperature is about the same for both of us.
We don’t bag bunched produce until it sells (and then it’s customer choice). We keep bunched veggies in 38 gallon lidded bins in the cooler. On the market display, we make piles and spray the down regularly with water (plus sanidate to keep the health departments happy), and continually restock with back stock from the bulk bins. It works, so long as the market isn’t slow. But we don’t have to keep it out all day like you would at a farm stand – a typical market is only 4 hours.
Head lettuce is our challenge. wind is the big enemy there – even if it’s 40 degrees and cloudy at the market, a beautiful head will wilt to where it’s not even fit for a sheep treat in less than an hour if it’s windy. unfortunately, we’re using plastic clamshells for lettuce. We also typically lose about 30% of each head at harvest, needing to be cut off just so the head will fit in the clamshell. We go back and re-cut the rest of the heads for ourselves or the sheep (since you only get one harvesting cut before it’s “processed”…).
Thankfully, we can use the green biobags for delivery orders of lettuce heads. Customer pays the same price, but gets an extra 1/3 of a head of product, while not destroying the planet as much. And it takes us less work, meaning we do better as well. But I just can’t get them to sell at market that way.
I haven’t had a chance to check out the net bags yet. I intend to, but with the economy where it is, the current focus is just keeping the wheels turning. We also had a pretty miserable harvest of most of the stuff stuff we would put in them this season. Ready for 2022 be over!
Please do keep me updated about what ends up working for you. one day we do hope to have a farm stand – It just will probably take buying land you can see from the road and/or can build an accessible without 4 wheel drive driveway…