Agricultural crates are useful for shipping all kinds of produce, but if you're new to the world of farming, you may be wondering which crates are best for your needs. While shopping, keep the following seven attributes in mind.

1. Heavy-Duty, Safe Plastic Construction

Produce is too wet to ship in wooden crates. Instead, you need durable plastic. That keeps the food safe because the plastic doesn't absorb moisture or any harmful pathogens. You don't have to worry about the plastic storing any pesticides or germs that you don't want to pass to future shipments.

2. Grid Pattern

A grid pattern allows water to drip through the crate. That prevents pools of water that could lead to mould or bacteria growth. Ideally, you want that on the base and sides of the crate.

3. Lids

If you plan to ship individual crates of produce, you will want the convenience of a lid. Then, you can attach shipping details to the top of the lid. It also prevents the package from spilling in transit.

4. Carrying Handles

In many cases, farmers load up their crates in the field, and they carry the crates to the truck for shipment. This can be time consuming and awkward without handles. Make sure the crates you order feature ergonomic handles for convenient and comfortable carrying.

5. Stacking and Nesting Design

Once a crate is loaded, you need to be able to stack it on other crates to optimise space. If the crates aren't designed to stack together, the top crate may press down on the produce, and your clients may receive smashed fruit and juice rather than what they ordered. Buying crates that are designed to stack helps you to avoid this risk.

At the same time, when you are storing the crates, you want them to take up as little space as possible. To that end, you want agricultural shipping crates that can be nested as well.

6. Returnable

Many companies also offer returnable crates. If you don't want to commit to buying a huge bundle of crates, you may want to opt for returnable crates. This can help to cut costs—generally, you pay a deposit, which is returned to you when you return the crates.

7. Can Double as Display

Agricultural crates aren't just for shipping. They can also work for displays. If you take your produce to farmer's markets, you may want to consider crates with openings that people can access when the crates are stacked. That makes it easy to load up the crates, unload them and set up an attractive display quickly.