Harvest Leader Manual

  Banana boxes


Many harvests use banana boxes provided by Marion Polk Food Share. They are a handy size for picking into, carrying, stacking, delivering to the food bank, and eventually distributing to food agencies. For large harvests, there is far less labor involved compared to dumping bucket loads into large totes that then have to be divided at MPFS into smaller containers for distribution. The fruit is also is damaged less and there is less handling and transferring.

However, a lot of time can be wasted in repacking if banana boxes are not used properly. Volunteers may need to be instructed in how to use banana boxes at orientation.

For small harvests, harvest leaders can get banana boxes at Marion Polk Food Share. Just go to the receiving desk inside the warehouse area and say that you are planning a harvest for Merced County Gleaning. They will be happy to provide you with what you need.

Banana boxes have two parts: a top and a bottom:

TopBottom
lighter cardboardheavier cardboard
writing and logoslittle writing
larger holesmaller hole
fits over the outside of the bottomfits inside the top

Always pair a top and a bottom. Never try to force a top over a top or a bottom over a bottom. Do not take mismatched boxes into the field or orchard. Set them aside at the truck.

The bottom has a hole in it that must be covered or the fruit can fall out. Always check that the hole is covered with stiff paper or cardboard. Do not use thin plastic wrap to cover the hole.

A common mistake made by volunteers is to overfill boxes. Boxes should be filled so that nothing sticks up above the top edge of the bottom part. Boxes must be stacked when loaded into the truck and if they are over-filled then the top is rounded and the boxes will not stack correctly and can crush the fruit.

Separate the top and bottom before filling the bottom. If the bottom is nested inside an upside down top, you will not be able to pull it out to get the top on [see photo].

Some crops, like cherries, should fill boxes only to the bottom of the hand holes. This prevents the cherries from falling out the side and also lessens the risk of them being crushed in the box. Use plastic liners with cherries if possible. These can be made from splitting open plastic trash bags, but are not a substitute for paper or cardboard covering the bottom hole.

Stacking: Banana boxes fit 6 to a layer on a pallet. It is important to align the first layer carefully. Most crops can be stacked in banana boxes five rows high. Some lighter crops, such as broccoli, can be stacked higher but the stack should be tied together or wrapped. If boxes are damp they collapse more easily and five rows high can be too much.

The outside of a banana box measures 10 inches high by 16 inches wide by 20 inches long. It has a volume of 1.5 cubic feet.

A banana box of apples or similarly sized fruit weighs about 35-40 pounds. A box of broccoli weighs about 25 pounds.



Many harvests use banana boxes provided by Marion Polk Food Share. They are a handy size for picking into, carrying, stacking, delivering to the food bank, and eventually distributing to food agencies. For large harvests, there is far less labor involved compared to dumping bucket loads into large totes that then have to be divided at MPFS into smaller containers for distribution. The fruit is also is damaged less and there is less handling and transferring.

However, a lot of time can be wasted in repacking if banana boxes are not used properly. Volunteers may need to be instructed in how to use banana boxes at orientation.

For small harvests, harvest leaders can get banana boxes at Marion Polk Food Share. Just go to the receiving desk inside the warehouse area and say that you are planning a harvest for Merced County Gleaning. They will be happy to provide you with what you need.

Banana boxes have two parts: :

TopBottom
cardboard cardboard
writing and logoslittle writing
hole hole
fits over the outside of the bottomfits inside the top

Always pair a top and a bottom. Never try to force a top over a top or a bottom over a bottom. Do not take mismatched boxes into the field or orchard. Set them aside at the truck.

The bottom has a hole in it that must be covered or the fruit can fall out. Always check that the hole is covered with stiff paper or cardboard. Do not use thin plastic wrap to cover the hole.

A common mistake made by volunteers is to boxes. Boxes should be filled so that sticks up above the top edge of the bottom part. Boxes must be stacked when loaded into the truck and if they are over-filled then the top is rounded and the boxes will not stack correctly and can crush the fruit.

Separate the top and bottom before filling the bottom. If the bottom is nested inside an upside down top, you will not be able to pull it out to get the top on [see photo].

Some crops, like cherries, should fill boxes only to the of the hand holes. This prevents the cherries from falling out the side and also lessens the risk of them being crushed in the box. Use plastic liners with cherries if possible. These can be made from splitting open plastic trash bags, but are not a substitute for paper or cardboard covering the bottom hole.

Stacking: Banana boxes fit 6 to a layer on a pallet. It is important to align the first layer carefully. Most crops can be stacked in banana boxes rows high. Some lighter crops, such as broccoli, can be stacked higher but the stack should be tied together or wrapped. If boxes are damp they collapse more easily and five rows high can be too much.

The outside of a banana box measures 10 inches high by 16 inches wide by 20 inches long. It has a volume of 1.5 cubic feet.

A banana box of apples or similarly sized fruit weighs about 35-40 pounds. A box of broccoli weighs about 25 pounds.



Banana boxes are useful because:
They are strong enough that fruit can be heaped high in them.
They save time and cause less damage than large totes.
You can stack 40 of them on a pallet.
You can tell a top from a bottom because:
The top has heavier cardboard.
The bottom was writing and logos on it.
The top has a bigger hole in it.
A stack of boxes of apples on a pallet, five rows high weighs about:
900 pounds.
1200 pounds.
1000 pounds.
Extra credit: What brand of banana box has tops that may not fit over other brands' bottoms?
Chiquita.
Del Monte.
Dole.
Boxes of cherries should be filled:
Even with the top of the box.
Halfway.
No higher than the hand holes.