"I cannot omit taking notice of an error most people fall into, particularly the fruit retailers which is, the exposing of their fruits to the inclemency of all weathers ; rain, snow, sleet, wind ; nay, to the most severe frosts. I would particularly recommend to these dealers, especially to those who deal in Apples and Pears, to rent shops for exposing their fruit to sale, and to shew but a few at a time, as samples of what they have in their granaries, properly taken care of, but covering them will in this rigorous season with dry wheat or oat straw ;and if they shall have occasion to answer commissions from the country, which are pretty frequent about Christmas-time, they should be careful to pack them up in small barrels, covered at bottom with wheat straw, and lined up the sides to the top with the same ; an above every layer of fruit, the skins of which are well dried before packing, to lay two sheets of dry white paper, and so continue till the barrel is full. I dare say, upon the receipt of their fruit in this good condition, no purchaser will grudge the expence of packing."
Sir James Justice, The Gardener’s New Kalendar (1767)
Clearly Sir James Justice (eighteenth century vigilante superhero?) expected his fruit sellers to provide produce of the very highest standard, and quite rightly so.
Somehow, I can’t imagine any of our major supermarket chains offering straw-lined barrels as a delivery option, even for Christmas commissions to the country.