You’ve got to agree that growing tomatoes is a bitter-sweet journey. That’s why it’s a significant achievement to get a good yield. Usually, most gardeners want to share the plump fruits with their loved ones or sell them to a distant location. So, many farmers want to know how to ship tomatoes without spoiling them.
Choose healthy-looking fruits and pack appropriately. Remove the dirt from the tomatoes. Arrange them horizontally in a box. Conceal the tomatoes with a newspaper, and close and seal the top with firm tape. Check with Postal Services for shipment restrictions and use the fastest shipping method.
As perishable goods, tomatoes require special packing requirements for shipment. This article provides insight into shipping tomatoes to reach their destination in perfect condition. Read on.
How to Ship Tomatoes Without Spoiling Them
Successfully shipping tomatoes requires a careful selection and packing that can endure several handlings and long-distance shipments. Also, you need to check restrictions and adhere to several Postal Service guidelines. It would be best to use the fastest shipping mode.
You can ship tomatoes in two ways: fresh store-bought tomatoes or tomatoes for canning and sauces. Picking store-bought tomatoes are ideal when green, so they can ripen on the way to the store.
Also, canning or sauce tomatoes need picking when red and ripe for shipping and use within 6 hours after harvest.
So how do you ship?
It would be best to know that shipping fresh tomatoes is no joke. You must carefully plan for them to arrive fresh and in perfect condition.
Shipping fresh tomatoes require an ideal temperature that keeps them fresh and tasty until their destination. The perfect shipping temperature for tomatoes is 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Shipping lower or higher than the required temperature could spoil or accelerate the ripening process to also make them spoil.
The sudden temperature fluctuation also negatively impacts the tomatoes while shipping. The sudden drop or temperature rise also spoils the quality of tomatoes, affecting the overall taste.
Put all the fresh tomatoes in insulated foam trays before the shipping boxes. One key thing is to ensure the trays and boxes have gaps that allow constant airflow. Airflow allows the tomatoes to maintain an ideal temperature that prevents spoiling or ripening ahead of arrival.
Contamination is another high risk for tomatoes. Ensure the trucks or mode of transport is very clean before loading the tomatoes.
How Do You Package Fresh Tomatoes?
Fresh farm products like tomatoes are coveted products in nearly all households. So, it’s important to ensure farmers send out the product efficiently.
Check out how to package your fresh tomatoes for shipment;
- Select the best and healthy tomatoes from the freshly harvested lot.
- Clean the dirt and wipe dry each tomato.
- Use bubble wrap to wrap each tomato in two or three layers.
- Secure the wrapped tomatoes with transparent tape.
- At the bottom of the shipping box, use 3 inches of foam packing peanuts to fill the container.
- Arrange the tomatoes horizontally over the packing peanuts using dividers. The dividers reduce the movement of the tomatoes, preventing them from crushing each other.
- Use shipping tape to secure the box firmly.
- On top of the box, mark the destination and return address using a black permanent marker. You don’t want the writing rubbing off en route.
- Take your packaged fresh tomatoes to the post office for further guidelines before shipping.
It would be best to ship your tomatoes on Monday or Tuesday. This prevents your shipment spending in the warehouse over the weekend, which makes the fruits go bad.
Can You Send Vegetables Through The Mail?
Sending vegetables and fresh fruits through the mail is highly risky unless they are in a dry condition. As perishable items, they are likely to decompose or spoil, hence failing to reach their destination in good condition.
Most people send their produce via mail. Why? It’s cheap, and the packaging boxes are available. Better still, mailed products reach their destination in a reasonable time limit as long as you meet the requirements of the Postal Services. But, ensure you use strong packaging and seal securely.
Environmental conditions such as extreme temperature affect the quality of your mailed vegetables, causing foul odor, low value, and even health hazards. That’s why it’s vital to have mailed vegetables and other perishable goods arrive in perfect shape.
Packing your perishables should be in strong, opaque, breathable boxes, as vegetables and fruits are fragile. So, you must pack them in a single layer to avoid the congestion that may spoil them.
How Do You Store Tomatoes For Shipping?
Poor storage conditions incur significant losses for farmers and consumers. That’s why storing this perishable product in the best state is crucial.
Whether you are shipping fresh, sun-dried, or frozen tomatoes, see below for how to store them.
Place the well-selected tomatoes in bamboo or plastic crates. Each crate should hold about 10-15 kg or put the fruits in 5-10 kg plastic bags each. Quickly transport the trimmed tomatoes to the packing house for shipping since they quickly dry when it’s hot. Don’t bruise them.
Store the green tomatoes in a dry, cool, ventilated box for regular storage. The lifespan is 7-8 days.
On the other hand, in cool storage, you can store plastic crates filled with 10-15 kg of tomatoes. It’s possible to achieve a shelf-life of about 12 days if you store the fresh tomatoes at a cool, stable temperature of 2-5°C. This condition also results in a less than 10% spoilage rate.
While transporting fresh tomatoes, ensure ventilation and avoid overloading as well as hitting bumps. If it’s a long distance, maintain a storage temperature of 2-5°C.
First, label each plastic bag of tomatoes marking the packaging date and producer’s name. Then, store the bags away from direct sunlight in a cool and dry box, preferably at room temperature. To ship tomatoes without spoiling them, ensure the shipping truck is clean and free from pests and rodents.
Remarkably, sun-dried tomatoes have a shelf-life of more than a month. So, rest assured to get the tomatoes in perfect shape and sell them later without spoiling.
Store frozen tomatoes in sealed plastic bags in a freezer at 0C temperature. While shipping, ensure the distance is no longer than 7 hours and the temperature is 2C.
The temperature is a vital aspect of storing tomatoes for shipping. The correct storage temperature allows you to cut losses and have tomatoes arrive in good condition.
Can I Ship Tomatoes Without Spoiling Them Via UPS?
Shipping fruits via UPS is ideal as it’s fast delivery. While most fruits are perishable, UPS provides cheaper options that are negotiable and timely deliveries within 1-5 days. Better still, UPS takes total control of the whole process, giving the sender and recipient of fruits peace of mind.
Shipping fruits require proper padding and packing. If you’re using UPS or any other shipping mode to ship fruits from an orchard to a market or consumer, you must ensure they arrive in the freshest state.
Take a look at the below tips for shipping fruits;
- Select good and healthy fruits and get rid of the damaged ones before packing-as the adage goes: a rotten apple spoils the lot.
- Don’t squeeze the fruits to test the level of ripeness, as you risk bruising. Instead, inspect ripeness visually by checking the color change and skin appearance.
- Choose a good shipping box based on the type and amount of fruit you want to ship. Preferably, go for wooden crates or trays if you want to ship hard fruits like oranges. Small soft fruits would do well in plastic containers, while easy-to-bruise fruits should go into molded trays. Still, you can opt for popular corrugated fiberboard for any fruit.
- It would help to note the local shipping climate of departure and destination. Why so? Extreme heat and humidity quicken the ripening process causing the fruits to spoil before arrival. Thus, you should also know the ideal shipping temperature for the specific fruits you’re shipping. For instance, sweet cherries have a short lifespan and require freezing temperatures when in transit.
- Even after harvesting, fruits still take in oxygen and breathe carbon dioxide. Various fruits have varying breathing rates and depend on the shipping temperatures. Hence, extra shipping considerations may apply.
- For bulk fruit shipping, ensure your containers are tight but well-ventilated. Why? Easy damage from other surrounding containers; so use plastic lids to protect your fruits. Still, cover the content using packing material to prevent abrupt movements and shifting around. Also, please label your fruit containers as ‘Perishable.’
If you want to know how to ship tomatoes without spoiling them, plus other perishables, the above guide goes into in-depth detail.
The planning and packaging of the tomatoes play a vital role in determining the arrival condition. While mailing your product is accessible for most, choosing a private and fastest shipping method is a better idea. This way, your goods arrive on time and in good shape.
In the end, shipping your tomatoes in the best way is beneficial to you and the receiver.