Skip to content

AnswerCenter

Find answers to common freight questions.

How To Ship Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a part of our everyday diets, and this creates a never ending need to ship produce. Produce items are shipped via freight trucks and trailers almost every single minute of every day. And since there are many different fruits and vegetables that fall under the category of produce, there are different times of the year when certain produce is grown and harvested. To ensure a steady and direct flow of goods, farmers and sellers should open channels to ship produce before harvest starts. Being on top of the supply chain can help ensure the freshness of produce from the farm to the local market.

Get a Quote for Shipping Produce

What Is Produce?

Produce is perishable food that has been grown and cultivated from raw materials, usually by farmers. Produce grows and ships all over the world. The term “fresh,” when on the label of a food or produce packaging means that the food is unprocessed. This means that the food is in its raw state and has not been frozen or undergone any other form of conservation.

How To Ship Produce

Harvesting Produce To Ship

While harvesting, there are certain steps to follow to ensure the longest shelf life for fresh produce. It is safest to harvest the produce when it is still wet from the morning condensation. Avoid unnecessary damage while collecting the fresh produce by carefully harvesting and not being too rough on the plant. Also, be sure to shade the produce so that it doesn’t dry out. If fresh produce sits unshaded for over an hour, it can lose more than a day of shelf life.

Ship Produce Fresh And Cool

When shipping fresh produce, be sure to keep each variety in their preferred temperature range via reefer trailer. Reefer trailers are the primary method shippers use in transporting fruits and vegetables over long distances without spoiling. Produce items should only be shipped together when temperature and humidity points are similar. Maintaining temperature control is extremely important during transit. Produce should be loaded into trailers or vans at the same temperature from which they were stored before loading. This helps prevent chilling injury and chemical reactions within the produce.

Package And Ship Produce The Right Way

Follow these steps to ensure a healthy produce shipment:

  • Line containers with waterproof lining and padding that is absorbent.
  • Fill in all extra space to minimize movement.
  • Keep 2-3 inches of padding around all items.
  • Place the food in sealed plastic bags.
  • Use cardboard boxes with holes to separate produce and keep airflow throughout the truck.
  • Palletize shipments to allow for airflow to the produce.
  • Follow temperature guidelines and monitor temperature control.

Going The Extra Mile

For added safety, you can also pack around the box for a firmer hold on each package of produce. While packing the outside of each shipment:

  • Use sturdy boxes
  • Mark the package with the proper labeling or documentation: “Perishable – Keep Refrigerated,” “Fragile,” and “Food Contents.”
  • Seal your box on all sides with packing tape that won’t detach under harsh conditions.

Domestic Produce

There are over 2 million farms located across America. One U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. The largest United States’ top farmed fresh produce item is corn. Corn is the most grown produce item in the U.S. 60% of all corn America grown goes toward consumption and global trade, the remainder goes towards feeding livestock. In most states, fruit and vegetables are in-season crops. In states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California with mild climates, some produce, like citrus, may grow longer than in other regions of the U.S.

The Most Popular Vegetables In The U.S.

Vegetable

Production (metric tons)

  • 14.48M
  • 1.40M
  • 6.75M
  • 3.40M
  • 4.70M
  • 2.00M
  • 2.57M
  • 2.05M
  • 1.71M
  • 0.48M

The Most Popular Fruits In The U.S.

Fruit

Production (metric tons)

  • 7,000
  • 1.3M
  • 5.94M
  • 4.92M
  • 453,500
  • 4.42M
  • 3.45M
  • 884,000
  • 617,760
  • 206,610

Global Produce

The global fruit trade market has grown by an average of 40% over the past decade and continues to do so. In 2010, global production of fresh produce totaled 740.54 million metric tons. And in 2020, the global production of fresh produce grew to 887 million metric tons. Worldwide, over 53% of forest produce grown globally gets imported to another country.

The Most Popular Vegetables In The World

Vegetable

Global Production (metric tons)

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Onions (Dry)
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Cabbages
  5. Eggplants
  6. Carrots / Turnips
  7. Peppers
  8. Lettuce
  9. Spinach
  10. Garlic
  • 177.04M
  • 93.17M
  • 71.26M
  • 71.26M
  • 51.29M
  • 42.71M
  • 34.50M
  • 26.78M
  • 26.68M
  • 26.57M

Fruit

Global Production (Metric Tons)

  1. Bananas
  2. Watermelons
  3. Apples
  4. Grapes
  5. Oranges
  6. Mangos and guavas
  7. Plantains
  8. Tangerines
  9. Pineapples
  10. Melons
  • 115.74M
  • 103.97M
  • 86.14M
  • 79.19M
  • 75.54M
  • 55.38M
  • 39.48M
  • 34.39M
  • 27.92M
  • 27.35M
Get a Quote for Shipping Produce

Global Produce Shipping

Top Produce Importing Countries In The World

Fruits

Vegetables

Country

(USD million)

Country

(USD million)

  • 1,075.1
  • 160.3
  • 158.6
  • 135.5
  • 114.1
  • 80.5
  • 78.4
  • 54.4
  • 49.6
  • 41.0
  1. USA
  2. Germany
  3. Japan
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Italy
  6. UAE
  7. Netherlands
  8. UK
  9. Egypt
  10. Syria
  • 88.4
  • 84.4
  • 45.9
  • 27.5
  • 26.5
  • 16.8
  • 13.5
  • 11.3
  • 9.2
  • 7.2

More than half of the fresh fruit and almost a third of the fresh vegetables that grow in America come from other countries. This is a result of many imports costing less than those domestically grown.

Top Produce Exporting Countries In The World

Fruits

Vegetables

Country

(USD million)

Country

(USD million)

  • 498.6
  • 344.9
  • 331.9
  • 146.7
  • 112.0
  • 90.5
  • 77.6
  • 66.0
  • 44.9
  • 10.6
  • 33.2
  • 27.2
  • 25.6
  • 24.9
  • 8.5
  • 8.5
  • 8.3
  • 6.0
  • 5.6
  • .14

Tariffs To Ship Produce

Tariffs can affect your competitive standing in overseas trade when exporting produce. A tariff is a tax set by governments on the value of the products a country is importing. Tariffs are different in each country and on every product that is being imported or exported. Each tariff is based upon the welfare of each country and the world’s economy as a whole. While there is such a wide range of vegetation that produce covers, here is the USDA Agricultural Tariff Tracker for an easy search on tariff rates for importing or exporting goods.

Ship Produce With Us!

Have trouble finding a way to ship produce? Let FreightCenter help! We’re experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our carriers and freight agents can ease you into the process to ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s free online quote tool to begin. Call our shipping experts at 800.716.7608.

Share via:
Copyright © 1998 – 2022 FreightCenter, Inc. All rights reserved.
FreightCenter Logo