I am planting an acre of snow peas and an acre of edamame in the central coastal area of California with the idea of direct marketing the pods to Asian restaurants for fresh use. If they're sold in 5 to 10 lb quantities, should they be packed from the field in cardboard boxes, plastic clamshells, plastic bags..? What would you recommend to reduce post harvest damage? (M.M.P.)
I suggest keeping them cold and dry. Therefore forced air cooling in clamshells or boxes should work fine and would be preferable to plastic bags. If you use plastic bags, I would add a paper liner to absorb any condensed water. Snow peas are often packed in waxed cartons to reduce moisture loss, but if you market soon after harvest, this should not be an issue. Both should be harvested when as cool as possible to reduce quality changes before cooling. We have measured respiration rates of edamame and they are similar to peas and snow peas. I hope this is helpful. --Marita Cantwell, Ph.D.