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X-Post: Cloth produce bags - what fabric?

1235 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Ponoma
(Also posted in Sewing and Crafts)

Our CSA sent out an e-mail asking people to please bring their own bags when the come to pick up produce. I guess most people have been using the plastic bags provided and they are expensive (with prices going up even more as petroleum prices skyrocket) and well...just bad for the environment.

Anyway...I offered to make some cloth bags that people could buy to encourage people not to use plastic, and to raise some money for the farm.

Originally I was just thinking of using quilting scraps but now I'm not so sure about that because those fabrics are all dyed. Is that safe to use for carrying food?

So now I'm wondering if anyone uses cloth bags for produce or has any ideas about what kind of fabric to use that would be cost-effective, lightweight, easy to wash, and safe for carrying food.


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I get some unbleached cotton muslin from the fabric store that is really inexpensive and make a bag with a drawstring for produce and grains.
those bags look good but (almost) $3 apiece???? if any of you are able to make 'em for less, please post, I am ready to buy!!

Hi Erin, (and everyone else!)

Please see this recent thread in the Natural Home section entitled "Where to buy reusable grocery and produce bags? " at:

Lots of discussion on this very topic!
We used to use the muslin bags, but produce went bad/wilted in them too quickly. We recently bought two terry cloth bags that are sold for storing lettuce, and we like them. They're thin terry, but thick enough that they hold moisture, so the lettuce stays nice. We do have to remember to wet the bags every few days, but otherwise they work nicely. If I ever decide to go back to all cloth bags, I'd probably use terry cloth, and then just spray them when I got them home and every few days afterward.

As for the dye question, I'd probably use undyed, just to be safe.

Thanks for making me think about this. I've seen the bags in the photo somewhere sold by the dozen for not so much. I've been stretching my brain to remember where but so far.. no go. While Googling I found this link. Make your own out of tuile?
Wow, until I looked at the link provided by Sabrosina, it hadn't occured to me that weight matters and the terry cloth would be way too heavy. What a pain to have to weigh the bag beforehand. The tulle looks like a good idea. One problem we had with muslin bags we used to use is that it's not very strong and gets holes easily (then again, maybe it was just the bags we bought). The tulle would probably be stronger. Then you just put the tulle bags inside a terry bag when you get home, and wet it. Or just leave it in the tulle bag or no bag at all for things that don't need moisture in order to keep well (like onions or apples).

Well, you've got an interesting project ahead of you. Let us know what you decide and how they turn out.

Hurray - another CSA momma! We are over in Dayton, OH
and we too bring our own baskets on market day.
Good luck on your project, please let us know how it turns out!
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