UVM Extension Ag Engineering

Build a greens spinner out of a washing machine! (Speed queen model shown here)

Have a washing machine that you want to convert into a greens spinner?

Have you already done the conversion, but want to improve it?

Join us for a one of two hands-on, intensive workshops this fall focused on getting the job done and doing it well.

We’ve been exploring ways to improve these conversions for improved produce quality, produce safety, personnel safety, and machine longevity. In the process, we have learned some tricks that will make your conversion and use of these machines easier and more efficient.

Please register using the link below and tell us what you have and what you hope to accomplish. We will get back to you with a shopping list and a rough plan so we can all hit the ground running on the day of the workshop.

This is a hands-on workshop and you are required to bring your machine with you along with tools and supplies to get the work done. We will help guide you in that process. We also plan to have a hand truck and an appliance dolly to help move machines around.

Due to the hands-on nature of the workshop and the activity involved, we may have to limit the number of attendees based on the order of registration and/or degree of need.

Upcoming Events

November 1st, 2019

This is a BRING YOUR OWN WASHING MACHINE EVENT! **Team lifts recommended**

2 PM – 6 PM

MOFGA Exhibition Hall

Fair Grounds and Education Center

294 Crosby Brook Rd, Unity, ME

Registration Form

November 19th, 2019

9 AM – 2 PM

Randolph Technical Career Center

17 Forest St, Randolph, Vermont

Registration Form


The workshop is free, but you can make a donation to the UVM Extension Ag Engineering fund to help support future magic.

What to Bring

A detailed shopping list will be provided to you following registration when you fill out the questionnaire/registration form indicating the needs for your machine.

The basics include:

Your Spinner to improve (Existing or New!)

Not sure which machine you should use? Learn more here {link with findings about machine models coming soon}.

Basic tools

  • Impact / drill driver & bits
  • Needle nose pliers
  • 1/4″ Socket set
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Screwdriver set
  • Digital multimeter / voltmeter
  • Installation and Operation Manual for the machine you have
  • etc.

Pre-purchased items

We may recommend some additional items based on the information you provide in your registration.  Please brings these along with you to the workshop so we can complete the work together.


Food is not provided during this workshop, so bring your own bag lunch or snacks.

Washing Machine Greens Spinner Workshop

Build a greens spinner out of a washing machine! (Speed queen model shown here)

Have a washing machine that you want to convert into a greens spinner?

Have you already done the conversion, but want to improve it?

Join us for a one of two hands-on, intensive workshops this fall focused on getting the job done and doing it well. Continue reading “Washing Machine Greens Spinner Workshop”

Greens Washline from China

With innovative tools becoming more available for salad greens production from field prep through harvest, mixed greens are becoming more attractive for farmers. Postharvest handling and wash/pack still causes a bottleneck for many farms. Today we share some knowledge on a piece of equipment recently adopted at Jericho Settlers Farm in Jericho, VT.

This Greens Washline is made by China Joy Equipment. They call it an “Air Bubble Washing Machine.” This has been an affordable piece of equipment to allow their farm to scale up greens production for $13,900. Mark Fasching from Jericho Settlers Farm was gracious enough to share some of his experiences sourcing this machine from the other side of the world.

Continue reading “Greens Washline from China”

Ventilation in Greenhouses and High Tunnels

I had the pleasure of facilitating a workshop at the 2019 NOFA-MA Summer Conference about Ventilation in Greenhouses and High Tunnels. It provided an opportunity to collect information from various sources, ground truth observations with growers, and to revisit some fundamentals. The big takeaway, for me, is that there are many, many ways to ventilate a protected culture environment and opportunities for improvement abound.  I hope this review provides a framework for troubleshooting some issues that may be common in the field.

Continue reading “Ventilation in Greenhouses and High Tunnels”

Wheels Keep Things Rolling at Root 5 Farm

A PDF of this case study is available for download here

Danielle Allen and Ben Dana own and operate Root 5 Farm in Fairlee, Vermont. This organic vegetable farm on the Connecticut River provides over 200 CSA members, farmers market, restaurant, and wholesale customers with local, healthy food. Over 100 different varieties of crops are grown on the 38 acres that make up the farm. Continue reading “Wheels Keep Things Rolling at Root 5 Farm”

Forced Air Cooling: Field Trial Results

Last summer we performed a series of precooling trials using small-scale forced air coolers to cool eggplant, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, zucchini, and roasting peppers. The forced air cooling was done in parallel with standard room cooling and was shown to result in cooling rates ranging from 1.2 to 2.2 times faster than room cooling. This test demonstrated the feasibility and benefit of simple forced air cooling systems to smaller scale farms.

Continue reading “Forced Air Cooling: Field Trial Results”

Hygienic and Sanitary Design for Produce Farms

Hygienic design intentionally creates or improves spaces and equipment so they can be cleaned and sanitized as appropriate.

This joint illustrates how intermittent welds lead to a gap, or sandwich joint that can lead to harborage. A continuous weld that is then ground smooth would lead to a seal and be easier to clean, sanitize, and dry completely.

This post, associated PDF guide and checklist (PDF and Excel) are tools we developed to help apply hygienic and sanitary design practice on produce farms. These tools cover the five key principles of hygienic design for produce farms:

  1. Visible and Reachable Surfaces
  2. Smooth and Cleanable Surfaces
  3. No Collection Points
  4. Compatible Materials
  5. Preventing Contamination

Continue reading “Hygienic and Sanitary Design for Produce Farms”

Backflow Prevention for Produce Farms

Check valves are one of several ways to prevent backflow.

The intentional, directional, and reliable flow of water is important to ensure agricultural water is “safe and of adequate sanitary quality”.

This post provides information on the importance of backflow prevention and some common practices that help mitigate the risk of backflow. You can also view presentation slides and a recorded webinar on this topic that were provided for the May 2019 Produce Safety Alliance Educators Call.

Continue reading “Backflow Prevention for Produce Farms”

Last Resort Farm Not Stalled by Dairy Barn Conversion

Silas Doyle-Burr, General Manager of Last Resort Farm

A PDF of this case study is available for download here.

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. They now grow 26 different crops split just about evenly retail vs. wholesale.

Continue reading “Last Resort Farm Not Stalled by Dairy Barn Conversion”

Summer Twilight Series – Event Schedule

Join us on our series of 2019 On-Farm Workshop for Commercial Vegetable and Berry Growers!

Attendance at these events is free for members of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association. The cost is $10 per-person for non-members, payable on-site. Refreshments will be served. Membership in the VVBGA costs $55 per farm, per calendar year. The VVBGA works with University of Vermont Extension to deliver education and applied research for its growers.

A PDF of this schedule can be seen here.

Monday, June 10, 4-7 pm. Sam Mazza’s Farm Facebook Event

Wednesday, July 10, 4-7 pm. Intervale Community FarmFacebook Event

Wednesday, July 17, 4-7 pm. Root5 FarmFacebook Event

Thursday, August 1, 4-7 pm. Woods Market GardenFacebook Event

Thursday, August 8, 4-7 pm. Sunshine Valley Berry FarmFacebook Event

Tuesday, August 20, 4-7 pm. HeartLand FarmsFacebook Event

Wednesday, September 25, 3-6 pm. Mighty Food FarmFacebook Event

Wednesday, October 16, 3-6 pm. Deep Meadow FarmFacebook Event

Wednesday, November 6, 2-5 pm. Small Axe FarmFacebook Event

Read more
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