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Shipping Apples to a Co-op

June 29, 2022 by Jailin Harris-Putulin
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What is a Co-op?

Co-ops are producer and user-owned businesses that are controlled by their members, rather than outside investors. Agricultural co-ops help producers market and process their crops. Everyone who owns a co-op has a need for the products and services offered. In this case, apple orchard farm owners come together to an agricultural co-op to sell their joined inventory to large companies. Individual farmers work together to buy supplies with wholesale discounts and sell their goods at large markets they won’t be able to enter alone. They also can provide a larger amount of selection for their consumers than they would be able to on their own. With these cooperative actions, growers can make their farms more efficient and profitable. In this article, we will be discussing shipping apples to their local agricultural co-op.

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Pros of a Co-op

  • Co-ops create jobs. Farmer-owned co-ops have 191.3k employees.
  • The ability to supply a larger inventory to market over longer periods of time
  • Co-ops can become the target of buy-outs by rival companies which can bring in more consumers due to high competition
  • Higher profits for farmers due to better marketing in a co-op bringing in more sales
  • Improved quality of products in the co-op. Profit made in a co-op can be beneficial in purchasing technology and tools to improve the community

Cons of a Co-op

  • As the costs of business operations get higher, farmers’ inputs increase too
  • At times, small and large members lack communication and compete with each other, this can cause tension and disagreements
  • The share capital of co-op members is often insufficient to ensure the constant presence of co-op products and services in the market
  • Many present-day agricultural cooperatives are lacking human resources. In-person, hands-on workers are difficult to come across these days and that causes agricultural co-ops to struggle

Laws Used for Co-ops

  • The Capper-Volstead Act exempts co-ops from antitrust restrictions if they comply with specific requirements of the Act.
  • The Cooperative Marketing Act allows co-ops to obtain past, present, and predicted data concerning market trends and pricing.
  • The Robinson-Patman Act prohibits price discrimination for commodities of “like grade or quality” that “may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly….”
  • The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into marketing agreements that “directly burden, obstruct, or affect” interstate or foreign commerce.
  • The Agricultural Fair Practices Act protects producers’ right to choose to sell their products themselves, or through a co-op.
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How to Package Apples for Shipment to Co-op

When shipping apples to a co-op they can become easily bruised and damaged during transit. How can we ensure they arrive safely to our co-ops? Most apples are densely packed into cardboard boxes and those boxes are palletized. They can also be packed loosely outside of a box in a large bulk container. The important detail is to be sure there is little room for the apples to move while in transit so they don’t roll around and cause bruising. Another issue to be aware of is that apples absorb the smells of their environment. Clean and sealed packaging is highly recommended for shipping so that no smells affect the apples while in transit. Crates or cartons are the most recommended form of packaging when it comes to shipping apples to a co-op.

Shipping Apples to a Co-op

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that most apples should be shipped in an environment between 30°F and 32°F. However, some varieties are recommended to ship at higher temperatures between 38°F and 40°F. Regardless of the variety being shipped, using a climate-controlled vehicle is your best option. To help protect a shipment from unpredicted weather situations, boxes should be stacked tightly together, to reduce contact with floors and walls. Palletized loads should use center-loading to reduce contact with walls. The more protection, the better! Shipping a large amount of apples? Full truckload may be a better option for you so that your inventory will not be affected by other freight’s size, odor, or weight.

Need help shipping apples to a co-op? Contact FreightCenter to connect with one of our freight shipping agents!

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Farmer’s Checklist Before Shipping Apples

  1. Package Apples – Packaging your apples varies depending on the type, size, and weight of your freight. It is recommended to package the apples in a tight container with little to no spare room to prevent rolling and bumping. Extra padding or cushion can also be used.
  2. Measure – Weigh your total freight including packaging. Measure the length, height, and width including the packaging.
  3. Contact – Call FreightCenter at 800.716.7608 or visit to receive an a free instant freight quote
  4. Choose a carrier. When shipping apples, it is recommended to connect with one of our agents to be able to be sure that the correct carrier and trucks are used. Due to the temperature and environmental needs of apples, the generic freight truck would not be efficient.
  5. Schedule freight pick-up time and special requests such as liftgates or residential access
  6. Receive your freight at the co-op location

Carriers With Temperature Controlled Trucks

When shipping apples, temperature is a big issue. Apples should be carried in accordance with the general rules for fresh produce. They readily taint other cargo and should not be stowed in the same hold as meat or dairy products. Apples and pears may be stowed together under certain conditions, e.g. when carriage temperatures are compatible.

In recent years, new developments in refrigeration has led to the introduction of “controlled atmosphere” (C.A.) as a means of prolonging the life and quality of various commodities. The process is now relatively common in both reefer ships and containers.

FreightCenter has relationships with many carriers who can provide temperature-controlled trucks and containers. Some of our most trusted specialty produce carriers are:

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States That Grow Apples and Local Co-ops

When you’re ready to ship your apples, click here to get a quote.

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