[Market-farming] limitations of AC coolers

Willie McKemie mf at austinfarm.org
Wed Jan 17 09:48:00 EST 2007

On Wed, Jan 17, 2007 at 08:25:17AM -0600, Bill Bradshaw wrote:
> John, Good Answer, Good Answer, we also use coolers to keep our produce as 
> fresh as possible. Even if just over night. TexasBill
> >I think coolers are a must for most fresh market produce farms...more 
> >important ultimately than any other piece of equipment on the farm.  I've 

I agree that walkins are the best solution; I have two.  However, an 
ACed room is better than nothing.  Before I got my first walkin, I used 
an AC to (slightly) prolong the life of peaches.  I have seen, from 
customers, resistance to cooling.  I don't agree or understand; cooling 
allows the grower to sell higher quality product than is possible 
without cooling.

On quick cooling, I have tried the following on blackberries and 
shelled peas:  keeping a 55 gallon drum of water in the walkin and 
plunging warm product for quick cooling.  With both blackberries and 
peas (southern), the plunging caused quality problems.  It might be 
worth a try on greens and other products.  I put warm washed wet 
spinach in plastic bags in the walkin to cool and have good results.

I have found that a thick layer, a tub 12' deep for instance, of 
shelled peas will warm in the walkin rather than cool.  When possible, 
I place un-shelled peas in the walkin prior to shelling.  Then, I
re-cool the shelled peas in layers only a couple of inches deep.

Originally I believe TxBeeFarmer asked about prolonging fruit and 
vegetable shelf life.  It seems he was hoping for too much.  The life 
of cool blackberries is only about a week; I don't keep them longer than 
three days, and I prefer to sell them cool the day after picking.  Most 
other products, I am willing to keep a few days in the walkin, but not a 
week.  Excepting root crops.

Willie, ONWARD!  Through the fog!
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