The Challenge of Shipping
After the bagging and sorting comes the most important part of the equation: transportation. The packaged carrots are transferred into a massive waiting truck bed, which can hold tens of thousands of carrots. It is imperative that these trucks are refrigerated in order to extend the shelf life of the produce. The optimal temperature? A chilly 38 degrees. The shipping trucks must also adhere to a very strict schedule. If a shipment arrives at its intended location too late, the veggies' shelf life could be drastically shortened.
Because of that sensitive shelf life and a multi-stop schedule for most truckers, farmers typically prefer that produce is shipped within twelve hours of the initial harvest. That may sound relatively simple, but the vast majority of produce from your local grocer travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate.
Because these veggies need plenty of sun to flourish, most US carrot production originates at farms located in the western states — over 85% of them are shipped from California alone. Large portions of the carrot crop come from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida as well — so wherever you are in the country, your carrots have likely spent significant time on the road.
Why is this long transportation distance concerning? In most cases, the farther a carrot travels, the less tasty and nutritious it is by the time it lands on your plate. The environmental impact must also be considered: transporting produce all around the country creates an unnecessarily large carbon footprint, damaging the environment and wasting our natural resources. It's enough to make you wonder about the efficiency of the modern shipping supply chain itself — that’s why we at HighJump are always working to help shippers and carriers optimize the path of goods to ensure product quality and minimize environmental impact.