[Market-farming] Cooling and storing produce

Adriana adriana at chefsgreens.com
Sat Jan 13 12:41:39 EST 2007


> 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!
Early on I came across research that indicated that cooling down lettuces 
and greens within half an hour of harvesting was the single most important 
contributor to shelf life and I believe it based on 8 years of growing 
experience.

Passive cooling is not the best way to cool produce since it can take hours 
for large quantities to cool down.  If you can, rig up a forced air cooling 
tunnel within your cooler.  The way I did this was to designate a shelf on a 
rack as the cooling tunnel.  The shelf was solid on the  back, top and 
bottom and I had a plastic drop curtain for the front.  I had a box fan on 
one end pulling air through the "tunnel"  Seal any gaps between the edge of 
the fan and the sides, top and bottom.  I would pick produce (in my case 
basil and salad greens) into large laundry baskets which fit snugly into the 
tunnel.  When you put the baskets into the tunnel and turned the fan on I 
found that the contents would be cooled down in 10 or 15 minutes. It works 
best if the baskets are fairly full and they fit snugly in the tunnel as 
this forces the air to be pulled through the vents in the baskets and then 
through the leaves.

I used an indoor-outdoor thermometer with a probe that I could insert into 
the middle of the basket to determine if it had cooled down sufficiently to 
remove it from the tunnel.  Some leafy greens can get dehydrated if you 
leave them in too long - they might benefit from a mild misting on the top 
surface to prevent this problem.

Adriana 




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