Last Fall we surveyed growers in the region about postharvest topics in preparation for a USDA NE SARE proposal. That proposal has been funded! Growers who responded assigned a high level of importance to aggregated postharvest knowledge (4.5/5.0, n=56) while indicating poor availability of the information (3.3/5.0, n=57). Several ideas for research topics were provided as well.
We’ve received a number of inquiries about building germination chambers so we have decided to provide some consolidated resources and guidance.
An important first step is to consider what the purpose of the chamber actually is. There are a number of horticultural practices that benefit from dedicated, environmentally controlled spaces. These include germination, starting, propagation/transplanting, sprouting of tubers and rhizomes, and grafting. These all fall under the category of “growth chambers.”
I recently had the opportunity to share a public service announcement for WDEV Radio and thought I’d take the three minutes to discuss what a consumer needs to know about Food Safety.
The written transcription is below, or your can choose to listen to the segment yourself!Continue reading “Produce Safety for Consumers (Radio PSA)”
UVM Extension in partnership with the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is hosting a FSMA Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training in Middlebury on March 19, 2019. More information is available at https://www.regonline.com/producesafetyalliancemiddlebury and below.Continue reading “FSMA PSA Training – Middlebury, VT – 3/19”
I am excited to share a new idea and am looking for your feedback and support! Today, I am releasing Episode 0 of the UVM Extension Ag Engineering Podcast! This is a short form audio segment on tools, tips, and techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm.
This is a trial episode to introduce the idea, and give you a feel for what to expect. It is 5 minutes in duration, but I expect future episodes will be 10-20 minute interviews with farmers talking about a specific piece of equipment or farming practice that has changed their farm for the better.
Have a listen, and let me know what you think! If you want to hear more or have a topic idea I’d love to hear it. You can either e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or enter your comments in this survey.
A pdf of this blog post can be downloaded here.
Produce wash sinks and tanks on vegetable farms consist of several different styles, designs, sizes, and uses. The needs vary from farm to farm but some features to consider are highlighted here. Some common basins for washing vegetables could include the following.
- Kitchen sinks
- Utility Sinks
- Livestock watering tanks
- Sheep stock tank
- Rubbermaid stock tank
- Repurposed dairy milk bulk tanks
- Maple sap tanks
- Restaurant Sinks
- Double bay
- Triple bay
- With or without drainboards
Silas Doyle-Burr is managing Last Resort Farm in Monkton, VT, taking over the operations from his parents on the farm he grew up at. The farm was purchased in 1987, and transitioned from dairy farming to vegetable production in 1993, and now grow 26 different crops split just about evenly retail vs. wholesale. The following link is a playlist of videos taken with Silas showcasing some of the features implemented to turn a dairy barn into a vegetable wash and pack space.
- Highlight video (1min)
- Overview of Last Resort Farm and the decisions behind building out this space (9min)
- The benefits, decision, and concerns of the build (5min)
- The details of the coolers instrumentation and controls (6min)
There are many options when it comes to constructing a walk-in cooler, cold room, or warm room for on-farm storage.
The main goals for construction of any temperature and humidity controlled space are:
- Insulate the walls to provide for efficiency temperature control against a different outside temperature (which may be an warmer inside space)
- Seal corners and seams to prevent air and rodent infiltration
- Protect framing and insulation with smooth, cleanable materials and vapor barrier to prevent moisture and condensation inside the walls.
The resources below should provide an overview of common cooler wall construction options. Continue reading “Cooler Construction Options – Walls and Panels”
Lisa MacDougall has led Mighty Food Farm through start-up, relocation from rented land to owned land, and now through the construction of a brand-new 60 ft x 90 ft wash and pack shed. She’s done this all while producing a diverse mix of organic vegetables, tree fruit and berries on fourteen acres, now, in Shaftsbury.
We’ve already posted a write-up about this case study here, but we just released videos that go along with it! In the playlist below there is an intro video, followed by a video showing the washing process in the new space (2min), the use of a Grindstone Barrel Washer on carrots and beets (2min) as well as the full-length interview (11min) with Lisa about the project. Enjoy!
Taylor Hutchison and Jake Mendel own and operate Footprint Farm in Starksboro, VT. Starting their own farm in 2013, they now produce pretty much everything except storage potatoes and storage squash with 66 different kinds of vegetables grown in both fields and high-tunnels.