By Don Schrack for The Packer

A new product may thwart the vegetable industry's move to iceless packing and shipping.

TVK Containers Inc., Fresno, Calif., unveiled a solid fiber carton at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.

TVK Containers general sales manager Pete Majarian said development of the carton is still in the infancy stages. It will not be available for widespread use in the near future, he said.

The carton uses no wax and is fully recyclable, Majarian said.

David Meza, plant manager for Stamoules Produce Co. Inc., Mendota, Calif., gave the cartons a trial run last October. He said Stamoules Produce used the cartons for shaved-ice packing and shipping broccoli and corn.

"The cartons held up very well and didn't absorb moisture," Meza said.

Meza said if the cartons are available, he hoped to use them again this spring for the upcoming broccoli harvest.

Majarian said because of the limited supply of the cartons at this point, Stamoules Produce is the only grower-packer given access to the product.

Ken Culver, a salesman for TVK Containers, said the strength of the cartons is another advantage. He said the cartons are so strong that pallets of iced produce have been stacked one atop the other with no crushing.

Culver said the solid fiber cartons are slightly more expensive than corrugated, waxed cartons. But the rising price for wax and increased production of the solid fiber cartons could narrow the gap, he said.