[Market-farming] another kind of tsunami

Richard Stewart rstewart at zoomtown.com
Wed Mar 6 08:20:02 EST 2013

I apologize for not being specific.  I am speaking in general terms.  We cool EVERYTHING prior to wash.  We only do greens and root crops and herbs.  We also do a lot of garlic and potatoes none of which we cool and wash obviously.  If we are harvesting Kale and Swiss Chard and we harvest from a warm bed into a cold wash tank we notice far more damage than if we harvest store cool at 38F for 15 to 30 minutes and then wash.  This is especially noticeably in more delicate items like sprouts, micros, and some lettuces.   Cool first, rinse/dunk and then bag/box.  We've been using stock tanks for our washing and we are moving to stainless steel I think, I just picked up a 250 gallon milk tank with a bunch of 100 gallon grocers tanks for my honey operation and I think I am going to peel that off from my bulk storage and covert it for our salad tank and put a bubbler in.

I am not claiming to be expert, but I can tell you our chefs are extremely happy with what we are doing, especially in a funky economy where weekends can be hit or miss.  Our product is VERY shelf stable relative to anything else they can get.  Cooling prior to washing seems to add another day or two to the longevity of the greens.  I can also tell you that temperature is one of the CORE parts of GAP.

GAPs and distributors and larger buyers are VERY interested in the temperature trail.  How quickly was it chilled prior to harvest and if there were spikes in temperatures anywhere along the distribution path.  There are murmurs of requiring temps at farmers markets no different than eggs meat and milk at the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  

All things to think about.

Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com

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