Unsorted Produce: Blessing or Curse?
Your truck pulls in and you and your volunteers are all set to unload it. You're all geared up to feed some families and have a wonderful experience. Just then, you see it coming down the lift-gate; the dreaded assorted produce pallet.
Whether you like unsorted produce or dread receiving it, it can be helpful to know why it comes unsorted. Unsorted produce donations are a crucial part of our inventory. Feeding America West Michigan relies heavily on donations from local retailers and farmers to provide us with produce throughout the year. By utilizing these produce donations, we can provide fresh produce during Michigan's cold winters when many fruits and vegetables do not grow. Because of the volume of donations we receive, it is nearly impossible to sort the products in a timely manner that both keeps up with the flow of product and ensures the quality of the produce.
Another positive aspect of handling assorted produce is the variety of products that it provides. Because the food bank deals with large quantities of product, the shelf life of an item is extremely important. Frequently, the items that make up the product mix are fruits and vegetables that we wouldn't be able to carry any other way. Strawberries, for example, are something we see fairly often in our assorted produce mix, but because of how delicate they are, the Food Bank would not go out and purchase them. By picking up these mixed pallets of product, it gives us access to those delicate items we may not see otherwise.
Whether it's the unpredictable variety or the difficulty in dividing the product up for each family, unsorted produce can definitely present a challenge to your mobile distribution. It is our goal to help and support you in your distributions and give you the tools you need to be successful. If you have questions regarding distributing unsorted product, please contact agency relations.