How can we better preserve the freshness of organic produce?


We are planning to do organic farming and are concerned about being able to preserve the freshness of the produce. An idea I had was to use shrink wrap on the produce as soon as possible after harvest. Does this work or are there other options that work better. I presume that different fruits vary as to what helps preserve the freshness. (L.I.)


Overwrapping can reduce water loss, but shrink wrapping could modify the atmosphere inside the package.  This might occasionally provide benefits but may, depending on the product and its temperature, cause off-odors and/or damage.  By far, the best way to preserve freshness of the product is to cool it immediately after harvest to the lowest safe temperature.  That would be close to 32F for cool-temperate vegetables and fruits (lettuce, broccoli, apples, pears, and the like), or 50F for summer vegetables and subtropical and tropical fruits (squash, basil, tomatoes, avocados etc.).  If storing for longer periods, over-wrapping with perforated polyethylene can reduce water loss, and help extend freshness.

–Michael Reid