As a restaurant kitchen manager, I see lots of produce every day. It all comes in boxes of various sizes and designs. Some cases are designed specifically for the produce contained within, to protect it from shipping damage, but other cases seem to have serious design flaws.
For example, lets look at citrus boxes. Lemons, limes and oranges all arrive in boxes of the same exact size, containing some 40 pounds of fruit. These boxes also have holes cut through the corrugated layers, probably for ripening reasons. The Lime Box guys were smart and made handles out of two of these holes. The lemon and orange box guys just have quarter-sized holes all around the sides that are only big enough to squeeze a finger or two (uncomfortably) inside. Ever try to lift a 40 pound box with four fingers awkwardly shoved into tiny holes? I have, and its not easy. Why don’t the orange and lemon packers walk across the street, and find out who the lime farmers get their boxes from? it would make every one happier to have handles in these hefty boxes.
Next up, the boxes for snow peas are crap. Snow peas are skinny, unlike their pudgy cousins, snap peas. But both varieties are shipped in a box with folded flaps on the top and bottom, carefully cut to leave wide gaps for the snow peas to slide through. Every time I order snow peas, I have to pick up a dozen or so off the floor, cause the little buggers fell blindly to their deaths.
Lately, green beans have been arriving in black plastic-grid crates. The holes are big enough for the beans to slide through, and there are hundreds of holes. and of course, the are different shapes of these plastic crates… tall ones, long ones, etc. a few months ago, I was getting beans on wooden boxes held together with giant copper staples and clasped shut with little wire loops. Of course, there were plenty of places for beans to fall out in this box too. Whats wrong with card board, guys? Your beans would fit inside the box that the bell pepper packers use, and if you put down a paper liner at the bottom to cover the holes, no beans would escape!
I could also complain about the boxes for cucumbers, asparagus and mushrooms if I had the time. Why don’t these guys use some common sense when designing their boxes? Why don’t they consider the entire life of the produce from farm to plate when deciding how to build their containers?
As a bonus rant, I never, ever want to see a sticker on a piece of produce again, unless its an apple. There are dozens of types of apples and many looks similar, but there really only 1 damn red pepper. Don’t put stickers on the red peppers.