[Market-farming] salad spinners

Shelly Elliott shelly at idlethyme.com
Tue Jul 11 01:06:13 EDT 2006


My customers are reporting 3 weeks of freshness on my spring greens. They are spun dry, packed in vented salad bags and put in the fridge immediately. I am not sure what makes the difference, but it is nice to have some extra time.
Shelly Elliott
Idle Thyme Farm
Carpenter, WY 
www.IdleThymeFarms.com
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: road's end farm 
  To: Market Farming 
  Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 4:04 PM
  Subject: Re: [Market-farming] salad spinners



  On Jun 30, 2006, at 8:11 AM, Lynn Wigglesworth wrote:


    I do 5-6 pounds of leaf lettuce for the farmers' market and found a cheap
    method that works for me. I soak it well in cold water, and keep changing
    the water as long as dirt is still coming off the lettuce. I put it in
    wire baskets and put it in the fridge for 2-3 hours, shaking it once in a
    while. After 2-3 hours, it's dry enough to bag (I do half-pound bags). It
    holds up well in the bag for about a week that way. I guess eventually
    I'll have to graduate to a spinner, but this works for now.



  And here I didn't know any better than just to pack it wet. All I do is rinse it off; let it drain a few minutes (in the type of plastic picking tray that has drain holes in it); pack it loosely in waxed vegetable boxes (which also let the excess drain some, though a little water may collect in the bottom); stick it in the cooler. If I have time, I make a few bags up in advance for faster setup at market, as most of mine sells as mixed bags; most of it I bag at market a few bags at a time, as I never know which varieties will sell significantly as individual heads, or whether some customers may want a particular mix (all romaines, or whatever). Mine keeps well in a bag for about a week too (in cooler or refrigerator, of course). Water doesn't seem to pool significantly in the bags, as it's dripped off enough to prevent that.

  The bags are left open at the top, unless the customer closes them after purchase; so the lettuce can breathe some. And these are whole heads of various sizes, occasionally split carefully in half if otherwise too big to get three in a gallon bag; not cut as individual leaves. And I don't sell it for a week; but it keeps that long in my refrigerator or cooler, and my customers tell me it keeps about a week for them from purchase, which is usually the day after harvest; though leftovers may be sold a couple of days later in some cases. All these things may make a difference. 

  -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
  Fresh-market organic produce, small scale


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