[Market-farming] Cooling and Storing Produce

TxBeeFarmer TxBeeFarmer at HotPop.com
Wed Jan 10 09:28:18 EST 2007


I'd like to share a few problems with all of you and get your feedback 
please.

Our market is located in the hot, dry part of west Texas.  It's held twice a 
week, like most markets I know of.  One of those days, Saturday usually, is 
VERY busy.  The other day, Tuesday, is usually VERY slow.  To meet the 
demand on Saturday, picking must be done every available morning to 
accumulate enough produce at the desired size ranges.  This means everything 
must be stored for most of the week, even longer if some things don't sell 
and must be carried over to the next market day.

Problems arise with the quantity of perishable items that need to be stored 
for a week or longer.  At the peak of the season, we average,10 bushels of 
black-eyed-peas, 5 bushels of yellow squash, 4 bushels of other types of 
beans, 2 bushels of tomatoes, and 4 bushels of okra each non market day. 
Cantaloupe averages 3 or 4 tons a week along with many gallons of 
blackberries.  Of course we grow other things, but they aren't that 
perishable.

Here are some of my thoughts.  If I just pile everything into a cooler, it 
will take a long time to cool down.  I can't keep the cooler super cold 
initially to cool the produce quickly because there'll be produce in there 
from previous days .  The only way I can think of to manage storage is to 
pre cool the daily harvest in cold water before placing it into a cooler.

This brings up some concerns about everything being wet for a week or more. 
And, how can I cool that much water every day?

Sure hope some of you have dealt with these issues and have some great 
suggestions/solutions!

Thanks for the help.
TxBeeFarmer
West Texas Zone 7b 




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