[Market-farming] Cooling and storing produce
billbradshaw at hughes.net
Mon Jan 15 09:15:47 EST 2007
Tom, this link has some information. I have the wiring diagram some where
will try and find it. Bill
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom at Limerock" <limerock at thirdplanet.net>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 6:35 AM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Cooling and storing produce
> Pat -- How did you 'rewire' your AC unit to be a cooler unit?
> Limerock Orchards
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Home Grown Kansas!
> To: Market Farming
> Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 3:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Cooling and storing produce
> I am writing from Kansas where we are enjoying a relaxing day in the house
> due to cold temperatures and ice rain which we have had all day. We have
> grown on our urban farm for 15 years. We grow a variety of greens in the
> spring and fall. We grow culinary herbs and vegetables as well and sell
> upscale Wichita restaurants and at two farmers markets - a Saturday
> one and a midweek market. As every farm is different, I imagine each of
> has a different way of harvesting and storing our produce. We have a
> outbuilding (approx 10X12) in which we installed a window air conditioning
> unit which we rewired to be a cooling unit. We can keep the "cold shed"
> about 42 - 55 degrees depending on the outdoor temperature. This is a
> effective cooling source - much less than the traditional compressor used
> for a walk in cooler. I usually harvest 20 - 30 pounds of lettuce a
> day -
> harvesting it first thing in the morning while it is cool. I then wash it
> and spin it dry (manually) and then bag it in vented plastic bags. The
> vented bags allow for any excess moisture to escape so as not to result in
> soggy greens. I then keep it in the cold shed until delivery. I can keep
> it for maybe 3 days if neccessary but try not to store for very long.
> Since okra is most prolific in the hot summer months and the temperature
> the cold shed can't be maintained at a cool enough temperature, I find
> my shelf life for the okra in my system is not more than a couple of days.
> When storing summer squash, after washing it I put it in cubed crates
> like what galloned milk is delivered in to stores) and then place a
> bag over the crates before putting in the cool shed. These crates stack
> great and I can get a great deal of produce in the shed. The plastic bags
> and the moisture on the squash result in beautifully stored produce. To
> grower who is trying to hold things over a week I would suggest looking
> some other outlets for sales. As I said earlier, we go to a Wed and Sat
> Market. We harvest for Saturday market on Thurs and Friday. What we
> sell at market, I bring home and store in cooler until Monday. I then
> harvest for restaurants/health food stores on Monday and can still include
> most of the Sat market leftovers in those orders. I try to clean my cold
> shed out on Mondays. What isn't sold is donated to the food bank. This
> they get good produce and I don't make the mistake of offering not so
> produce to my customers. Then, on Tuesday & Wed I harvest for the Wed
> afternoon market. What is not sold comes to the cold shed. I harvest
> Thursdays for restaurant orders and can include the Wed market leftovers
> that. Should it not be sold, it stores well until Saturday market and is
> sold there (be sure to sell it first so that if you bring home produce
> Saturday market you are bringing home what will hold over until Mon). I
> rest on Sunday and start all over again Monday.
> Our cold shed has saved us so much money in lost produce that I would
> suggest that anyone growing more than they can sell the day of harvest
> should invest in some type of cooling unit. Years ago I tried using large
> ice chests and they were a headache and not at all successful, not to
> mention hard to keep clean.
> We've been enjoying this market farming list. Hope you can glean
> from this contribution to use in your food growing endeavors. Pat
> Market-farming mailing list
> Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
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