Clamshell packaging

I know this topic won’t interest most fruit growers on the forum, but I am needing a cheap source of clear clamshell packaging for selling cherries and berries. I know @amadioranch and @blueberrythrill sell berries and I’m sure there are others.

In the past I’ve sold small fruits in cardboard boxes, but I’d really like to move to something which looks a little more presentable at farm markets. My friends here sell in fancy wooden quart containers, but that’s a little more money than I want to spend on packaging. Ideally I’m looking for vented plastic clamshells w/ lids, so I can stack them.


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Try Good Fruit Grower magazine. I know I saw an article or maybe a bigger ad for a company not too long ago.

That may be personal, but the plastic packages scream “supermarket” for me. (I am a buyer only!) On the farmers market I would rather see cardboard pack, then plastic… Though I agree, plastic is much easier to stack up and carry.

They sell berry containers on Amazon but I thought you might be able to use containers like I use for comb honey when I have it Plastic Cut Comb Boxes-Economy c/50 . Anything over 100 $'s is free shipping. That’s still over 3 cents a box.

Try Monte Packaging or Detroit Forming. I have not had to purchase any pint containers since we only sell u-pick in larger sizes, but we bought the last batch of clear pints from Detroit Forming.

This is who we use. They have great options and have been great to deal with.

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We HATE having to use plastic clam shells. Resisted it for years. But I will tell you this as fact, our sales jumped 300% once we starting using them. The modern American consumer loves his fruit like that. People who dont are in a small minority sadly.

We do ask people to bring them back to us and let us reuse them. Some do.

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Stacking them is the biggest advantage to me with clamshells. We refrigerate in converted chest freezers set to 35 degrees. I can stack clamshells 3 ft high inside these coolers and not have any damage to the fruit. Makes for very efficient use of space.

yeah, I guess I am not modern American :laughing:

When we handled hundreds of flats of blackberry and blueberry, we used clear plastic pints with no lids, packed 12 to a cardboard flat. Clam shells were pretty new so very few large packers had the ability to handle the clam shells.

We could stack our flats 8-10 high in the cooler or in the van. We could not stack the clear pints more than 1 high on the display table, so we turned the flat at the rear of the table upside down and put some pints there which created an elevation change and massive display.

“Pile them high and kiss them bye!”

I’m in complete agreement that clam shells make the local fruit look just like the supermarket. I don’t like them, but your increase in sales was almost unbelievable. Bring on the clam shells!

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Thank you all for the very helpful comments/recommendations! I haven’t had a chance to review all the possible sources tonight, but hope to in the next couple days.

Thanks again.

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If you know someone who works at a restaurant or school, ask him/her to save the containers for you. I get mine from colleagues and the school cafeteria and have thousands in reserve of all dimensions. I’ve never had to buy any. I do remove labels and wash well. Most of my customers return them as well, and some bring them to the farmers market for reuse. It can get pretty pricey buying them, and there’s not tremendous profit in this business as it is. People like the idea of recycling them anyway.

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Not crazy about washing and using old containers for selling produce! 20 years ago we washed and reused packaging with no concerns. Not now. We never wash and reuse any packaging. We do allow returning U-pick customers to re-use the plastic bucket or baskets they used last time they picked berries at our farm.

Food Safety is a hot button issue with the USDA and its only going to get hotter even for very small commercial growers like me. The FSMA and GAP probably would not endorse the washing and re-use of plastic containers unless it was done in a commercial grade dishwasher, with water of a certain temperature and with the approved sanitizer.

Although we do not require a GAP certification at the moment, we are working on a food safety manual and procedures for when we get caught in the net. The ability to document proper sanitation is one of the key ingredients in the plan. Well water testing, new containers, hand washing station for customers and so forth are all part of the policy manual.

Food safety is very important, but I am not aware of any E coli or Listeria outbreaks at small farms. However, at some point in the near future the small commercial grower should be prepared to document his/her policy and procedures regarding food safety and perhaps pay a fee for an audit and certification.

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working in the food industry for the last 20 years or so, having a food handlers license as they call it in NYC is invaluable for me in the restaurant. I would think it would be more important for small farmers where word of mouth could crush the business.

Know your temperatures zones (40f-140f = bad) and know your critical control points to control all aspects of growing and selling.

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I’m sure your aware about clamshell sealers but I wanted to just post an example for everyone reading this thread

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