[Market-farming] limitations of coolers, AC or otherwise

Paul Bucciaglia pbucciaglia at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 17 11:16:46 EST 2007

I think both John and Bob make important points re: coolers. As Bob points out, the use of a cooler can be abused, just as the use of cultivators can.  Storing lettuce in a cooler on my farm for 2 weeks would make it supermarket lettuce, for sure.  So we don't do that.  But as John points out, produce that has been stored even a half day at 75F can be 'older' than produce stored for a few days in a cooler at 34F.  Getting many crops cold, quickly, greatly increases their nutrient content, taste, and shelf life at your customers home.
  Paul Bucciaglia
  Fort Hill Farm

Message: 7
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 06:52:31 -0600
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] limitations of AC coolers
To: Market Farming 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

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 seen "fresh picked" produce from CSA farms and at farmers markets that is LESS fresh than supermarket produce because of inadequate post harvest handling and lack of a cooler. Vegetables start to die the moment they are harvested. Unless field heat is removed and the dying process is slowed, the produce quickly looses quality and nutrients. None of the market growers I know use coolers as an excuse to sell old produce, they use them to cool and hold produce overnight or for a couple days so that it can withstand the rigors of sitting at a CSA drop site or at a sunny, windy farmers market. Such produce is still 7-14 days newer and fresher than the stuff at a supermarket. My two cents...


----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Schuler 
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:07 pm
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] limitations of AC coolers
To: Market Farming 

> Paul, you are right, ac cannot remove field heat and true agricultural 
> grade cooling requires removing field heat right into the core of the 
> produce not just the surface. If you put a melon with a core temp of 
> 70 degrees in a ac cool room the surface will feel cold but the the 
> inside of the melon will still be 70 degrees for days after. At my 
> Coop will use vacuum cooling that sucks the field heat out of the 
> produce right to the core then the produce can be held in a cool room. 
> Unfortunately vacuum coolers are a bit costly for a small farm. 
> On my farm I do not use any cooling. I tell customers that coolers are 
> just an excuse to sell old produce. If you want old cooled produce you 
> can go to the supermarket. People who buy off the farm expect produce 
> to be fresh picked not days old... Bob.
> Sunny Meadow Farm
> Bridgeton, NJ.
> From: Paul Bucciaglia 

> Date: 2007/01/16 Tue PM 12:12:58 CST
> To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [Market-farming] limitations of AC coolers
> I don't mean to be a wet rag (no pun intended), but I found Air 
> conditioned coolers to be limited in their usefulness.

  They are fine for crops that are best stored 
> between 55F and 65F. I have a cooler made from panels ripped from a 
> liquor store--we cut a hole in the back, mounted an old window AC, and 

Paul Bucciaglia
Fort Hill Farm
Organic Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers
18 Fort Hill Rd.
New Milford CT 06776
(860) 350-3158
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