Rats (and other rodents).

A few weeks back, two growers and I were standing in the middle of a squash storage room in mid-construction talking about rodent control.  It brought us back to the excellent presentations by Lisa MacDougall and Hank Bissell at 2015’s VVBGA Postharvest Meeting on rats and rodents. That was great stuff. I thought it would […]

Thermostats for Agriculture

I am often asked by growers and processors to recommend a thermostat for greenhouse, cooler, or postharvest process use.  There are many to choose from and their specifications can be confusing. It is important to remember just what a thermostat does. It is essentially no different from the light switch on the wall with one […]

Finish Surfaces for Produce and Food Areas

Smooth and cleanable surfaces are an important aspect of areas where produce is washed, packed, stored and processed.  Many farms are investing in renovations and expansions of these areas and are seeking materials to meet this “finish surface” need regardless of specific regulation.  Meanwhile, entrepreneurial food processing companies are often required to incorporate these materials […]

New Crop Storage Planning Tool

I have been toying with an Excel-based crop storage planning tool for several years.  I finally have it at point where I want to make it available to others and start collecting feedback for improvement.  You can download the tool here, and instructions are available in the tool and at this page.  Enjoy and please […]

Final Report – Increasing Supply and Quality of Local Storage Vegetables

We recently completed a project aimed at improving the ability of Vermont vegetable farms to store crops such as beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, squash and sweet potatoes, all of which have unmet demand in late winter when local supplies run out. The physiology of these crops allows them to be stored for many months […]

Simple DIY Outside Air Exchange

In colder climates winter storage crops have been stored in passive root cellars for centuries, striking the balance between outside conditions and storage conditions. Although modern refrigeration systems are generally used for large scale, longer-term storage of these crops some enterprises seek lower cost and high energy efficiency options. Outside air exchange systems use an […]

DIY Auto-fill Humidifier

I recently built a humidifier I think others might find useful.  This could be useful for cheese aging, meat curing, and storage of winter crops all of which require maintaining specific temperature and humidity. The details are available on the Tool Wiki at FarmHack.  Take a look, and let me know if you find ways […]

Food Storage Workshops

UVM Extension with support from the USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program will offer five one-day workshops on crop storage throughout Vermont this fall. Workshops will focus on long-term storage of crops for sale through the winter and into early spring, but will be relevant to many agricultural and food storage needs. Topics […]

How Refrigerators Work: “Principles of Refrigeration”

1944 US Office of Education video on refrigeration principles.  Excellent.

CoolBots(TM): Inexpensive Cold Storage

Demand for on-farm cold storage of produce and other Vermont agricultural products is increasing as local markets for these goods expand. I receive many inquiries regarding CoolBotsTM, an adaptation of a window air-conditioner to make a cooler out of an insulated space. This article is intended to collect related resources in one place and to […]