Ok … I know this is not the pretty side of our farm operations but it is a very necessary part of getting food from the farm to you! Packaging … the necessary evil in the equation. We have evaluated the various options over the years and have adopted the current set of packaging that seems to strike the best balance between safety-cost-conscientiousness-convenience. The key to it all is being able to re-use these items as much as possible and hopefully their finally destination (the dump) has a short lived delay before they return to Mother Earth.
With the COVID-19 virus concerns I wanted to assure that our processes are keeping safety as our #1 priority. Here is a list of re-usable packaging items and what we do to keep them safe:
- Boxes & Egg Cartons --- Inspected for cleanliness (no food particles or stains). They are then held in a separate area away from food processing areas until they have been sterilized. When possible (when it's not raining) we will also solarize the boxes and then spray with sanitizer before re-using them.
- Ice Packs --- We generally get these from doctor's offices. Since it is not safe to get these right now we are running very low on our stock!! These are washed in hot water and sanitized before being re-frozen. Please leave water packs filled - they are filled with purified water to prevent mold growth and are fine if kept sealed.
- Glass mason jars --- We chose to use standard mason jars as we can sterilize the jars and screw bands with hot water and sanitizer. The lid inserts can be replaced. Or you can keep them for your post COVID-19 canning party!
What we cannot re-use...
- Plastic produce bags ---- We don't have an effective way to get these safely cleaned...please re-use as small garbage sacks or recycle at the grocery store or through your local recycle center... or if you are creative and bored try making a rug : https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Rug-from-Plastic-Grocery-Bags/
- Paper bags --- at this time we do not have an effective way to clean these guys. If you have regular weekly milk orders please put them in the box with your name and we can re-use them for your next milk delivery. If not...try using them to line your COVID- Victory garden bed to keep the weeds down and become part of the soil as they compost.
Let's stay creative and not forget about our Earth amidst all this chaos. Please...please...please... start a COVID Victory garden this Spring! There is a lot going on in our world right now and a little extra food insurance is probably the best investment available to us right now...plus it will be a great stress reliever and something great to teach those kids that are crawling up the walls by now!