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Expanded polystyrene packaging is the future in broccoli packaging
Saturday 28 May 2011
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Expanded polystyrene is an innovative packaging material for the maintenance of sensitive vegetables - particularly broccoli, as agronomists argue.

This year A.S.K.G.E. Ardas started using an innovative packaging material in order to better maintain broccoli.

A major production problem for Ardas, the Common Agricultural Cooperative Farm, that has to do with the preservation of the perishable broccoli, was solved to a large extent due to the adoption of the new (EPS) packaging. From this summer and on Ardas’ broccoli will be packaged into new, innovative for our country (meaning Greece) packs, which as has been demonstrated, greatly increase the shelf life of the product, especially during the first weeks of the commercial season, which runs from August to November.

Ardas’ fresh broccoli from Evros are placed placed in a nylon pack and then in a box of Styrofoam that contains ice.
Air when confined to one area, is a very poor conductor of heat. The foam is a solid material that contains many trapped air cavities that substantially insulate the contents of the box, not allowing the low temperature inside it to rise. In this way the ice keeps the temperature inside the box low for many hours, even if though the ambient temperature outside the box might be high.

As we were informed by Mr. Stelios Tsakiris, an agronomist and member of A.S.K.G.E. “Ardas”, the idea of ​​using the package came from a similar product that members of the cooperative saw during a trip to Holland. The people of the cooperative have long been on the lookout for a solution to the problem of conservation of broccoli, as the classic pack has proved inadequate in many cases, particularly in August and September (warm months).

According to Mr Tsakiris, the new Styrofoam and ice packaging are more expensive compared to the standard packaging. This is because new materials are more expensive, and labor/transportation costs go up as well, since the boxes have become more voluminous and contain less product.

However EPS packaging is clearly of higher quality than the one we knew until today and to quote Mr Tsakiris: “someone who will buy a box with broccoli, will sell to the last stalks,” as the sorting at the packing association is very strict and the packaging gives extra life to the product until it reaches the hands of consumers. Thus, broccoli of the Ardas Cooperative arrive at their destination fresh, even though they have spent many hours and have traveled hundreds of miles to get to a remote place such as Crete or Rhodes.

Mr Tsakiris appears to be satisfied with the success of broccoli on the market, mainly because of new packaging. Regarding the evolution of their agricultura cultivations, the agronomist’s A.S.K.G.E. Arda informed us that the cooperative cultivates about 500 acres of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Chinese cabbage and lettuce, of which most is occupied by the cultivation of broccoli. This year’s harvest of broccoli exceeded 300 tons and was larger than last year’s, since there were no particular problems during the harvest and because of the producers desicion to plant more broccoli than during previous years.

Published in Greek by Costas Pagomenakis in http://ardasvegetables.blogspot.com