[Market-farming] "Cool Truck"

Aaron Brower aaronbrower at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 16 21:55:21 EST 2012


On the last farm I worked at, we constructed a cooler box that fit on the back of a Mitsubishi Fuso. We used it for markets and deliveries 2-3 times a week, 52 weeks a year for the last 2 years. The box could be moved on/off the truck with the fork lift on the tractor. It was cooled with a coolbot/ac. It took a beating but never broke down. On the contrary, we had a reefer trailer whose compressor broke down 3 times over the last couple years. Each time, the repair cost approximately 3x the construction of the box and the coolbot/ac. The only advantage the reefer trailer has over the coolbot is that the reefer has a heat coil that keeps it above freezing in the winter, however with a simple heater we have never had a problem with freezing in the cooler box. Additionally, the generator that runs the coolbot/ac has never broken down. This has been a maintenance free setup, as with my other coolbot setups. I believe the coolbot is possibly the best
 small farmer invention in the last decade. 
Aaron


________________________________
 From: John Ferree <john at seldomseenfarm.com>
To: Jay Sleichter <jaysleichter at yahoo.com>; Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org> 
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:32 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] "Cool Truck"
 

i have seen vendors with the trailer setup.  i'm sure they chew up gas generators like popcorn on a friday night.  alternatively. . . you could use a coolbot setup in a reefer box and set it up for 'standby only' (elec plugin) or run it off a generator/oversized alternator in transit.  there are a bunch of reefer boxes on ebay right now. . . not too hard an item to find. . . and cheaper than having a box sprayfoamed and paneled.  in all of this, i wonder if the DIY method isn't a false economy vs getting by as vs sucking it up and buying a reefer truck (in the market at the moment).   If you have to hit 34 oF in a timely manner (coolbot won't). . . and you don't want to break down consistently. . . the $$$ look reasonable for a used reefer truck.  A reefer trailer. . . could well be cheaper DIY, but it is impossible to find employees that can 1) drive a trailer 2) do it well.

j

On 2/16/2012 2:49 PM, Jay Sleichter wrote: 
I don't know how practical this would be for you, but we had a fellow vendor who resold berries at our market two years ago. He had a refrigerator trailer. He took a regular enclosed trailer, and on the passenger side door, he cut out a hole for an AC unit and hooked a coolbot to it.  Then he ran wiring up to the truck and had a very small generator sitting in the back of his truck to power the whole set up.  
>
>
>
>Inside his trailer, he had insulated it with 3 or 4 inches of rigid insulation and make a floor that was insulated too.  He only insulated the front half of the trailer.  It kept everything very cool and was a nice place to hang out in July!  When he got home, he would then just plug the AC unit into an electrical outlet in his shed.
>
>
>It can be done, I don't know the costs, but he was very happy with it.
>
>
>Jay
>
>Jay's Jellies, Produce and More
>Clay Center, Kansas
>www.jaysjellies.com
>http://highfarming.blogspot.com/
>
>
>________________________________
> From: Jan Lite <liteshoe at gmail.com>
>To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org 
>Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:24 PM
>Subject: [Market-farming] "Cool Truck"
> 
>
>Hi,
>Question: Does anyone have a low-cost solution for keeping
              produce cool (about 55-60 degrees) in a transport truck?
>Our Co-op is upgrading from an uncooled rental van and is
              examining our options. 
>Most times the produce would be in the truck an hour or
              less, but transferring to a simple air-conditioned space
              for several hours for distribution. The truck would be
              making several trips each of two mornings, with no time to
              really cool in between.
>We are in the market for a truck, and will be getting a
              lift-gate mechanism, but a full refrigerator.compressor
              seems like expensive overkill, as we are not hauling
              produce between coasts but within a 50-mile radius.
>I know there are some clever solutions out there!
>We deployed a CoolBot based on suggestions from this list
              several years ago.
>Thanks!
>
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-- 
FarmIndy
Danville & Needham, IN
317.373.4081
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