I searched to see if i could find anything previously, but am having no luck! I'm trying to think up an easy, sustainable and cheap way to give out excess veggies to my friends, family, neighbors, etc.
Usually i just use plastic ziploc baggies but it is driving me nuts.
it makes me feel super guilty, as it should.
I've played with the ideas of thrifting baskets for larger produce and maybe making envelopes for smaller (example - cherry tomatoes) out of newspaper?
But neither of those feel very good to me either. Idk.
You could take a weekend and go garage saling, or go to one church rummage sale. If your area is anything like mine, you’ll find an infinite volume of old glass/ceramic/china dishes. The plain/ugly ones that don’t match can be bought very cheap (nickles, dimes, quarters.) Pick shapes that are useful (bowls, mugs) and distribute your stuff in those. I often see even legit large decorative bowls for fifty cents, maybe cracked or chipped — wouldn’t that be worth it if you were giving away an armload of nice produce?
Lot's of great ideas here. The only one I can think of to add to is using cloth as William mentions, either sewn into simple bags or just large squares bundled around the produce and tied at the top. I am always on the look out for big chunks of muslin and other undyed natural fiber fabric at the thrift stores...light weight curtains, sheets, etc. The simplest could even be unhemmed but hemmed and finished as a kitchen towel would be handy also.
If you do this often maybe they could provide the reusable bags when they pick up the produce?
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
A roll of brown butcher paper and fold up your own sacks. Probably the most economically and ecologically friendly way to put it in something "new" aside from weaving baskets out of some local plant/tree/waste.
Asking them to bring their own bag or container is the best way. Saving whatever bags you get from the store is the easiest, cheapest and probably the most common way.
I was John Pollard aka poorboy but the system is broken so I had to start anew
If you've got larger things, often liquor stores will let you take the cardboard boxes that the bottles come in. They are very sturdy and generally pretty clean. I've also used them while moving for books!
Natasha Flue wrote:If you've got larger things, often liquor stores will let you take the cardboard boxes that the bottles come in. They are very sturdy and generally pretty clean. I've also used them while moving for books!
Natasha, you created a picture in my mind of a dozen zucchinis packed in a wine box. If it was zucchini season I would have taken a picture of that, but since it's not I googled it and found nothing!!! I am shocked. You might have just started a new thing for people trying to get rid of zucchinis....put them in a wine box, leave them on the front steps, ring the doorbell and run. They will be excited to bring them into the house!
That's one of many excuses I use to justify drinking beer and wine - it comes in a box that will be used for lots of purposes.
Problem is, the system only works when the cartons are emptied ... the things we sacrifice to ensure environmental sustainability!
We wrap things up in newspaper, held in place with either a recycled elastic band or piece of tape, more often than not nothing is needed because they'd be stacked tightly in a carton.
However, old sheets, pillow cases, tea towels, even old blankets could be cut up and sewed to form bags - like those once used to hold flour, etc. Vegetables/herbs prone to wilting could be wrapped in damp newspaper and put in a blanket bag for insulation on hot days.
We get a fair bit of junk mail - glossy supermarket stuff, local community newspapers. They make good packages because the paper is strong and the gloss provides some water resistance.
'Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.'
Knew a lady at the Greenville Farmers Market (Greenville, TX) who would buy a bale of old tee shirts and turn them into "T" bags. She would cut out the collar and sleeves to make handles then sew up the bottom of the shirt. If they get dirty they just go in the wash. I've been doing that myself and also turn old jeans into bags. I turn the jeans inside-out and sew across just above the crotch. I then turn them right side out and attach handles using old straps, belts, strips of denim or what ever I have that is handy and free. I then rip the seams on the legs, sew them together, cut them in half, hem the top and attach the handles. I'd post pictures but I don't know how to get them off my phone and onto my computer were I have to search through the black hole where, theoretically, they are stored in some file. I do know how to text pictures if anyone is that curious.
Back when I was making bread regularly, I'd wrap my extra loaves in dish towels and give them to friends I wanted to see more often. It was a great way to get others to initiate get-togethers so they could give back the towels.
When I was growing up in rural South Carolina upcountry, we often exchanged produce and foodstuffs with friends and neighbors. We used paper grocery bags, cotton cloth bags, glass jars, bowls, pots/pans, etc. Everyone saved the containers and either returned them to the original owner or passed them on with foodstuffs to the next person. I'm concerned about reusing plastics with foodstuffs because of possible leaching and contamination. Whereas many plastic manufacturers have stopped using BPA, they have gone to BPC which is as bad or worse. If you've ever put spaghetti sauce in a plastic container and seen the red staining, then do not be naive and think the interchange of materials is only one way.
I give away a lot of stuff, mostly herbs and leafies, and I roll them in newspaper or book pages (I work with a few academic journals who insist on sending me paper copies, despite my protests, so I always have some laying around) and tape them into cones. (sadly, paper grocery bags don't exist here, or that would be an option). Occasionally smaller things (cherry tomatoes?) might be taped into an envelope. I have the skills to knit and sew bags but I just don't have the time, on the scale that I give things away. If I did I'd make more things for myself.....
Welcome Ruth - if I had the skills to make those bags, I wouldnt want to give them up 😀
I have used random jars that I dont care about getting back. Small stuff like berries work well and I can put leafy stuff in the jar sort of like a floral arrangement. Works well with rainbow chard in particular.