“Dry Cleaning” on Produce Farms: Alternatives to Using Water & Detergents

Key points: Introducing water to a produce line or other food contact surface that is generally dry can introduce new hazards. Not all cleaning needs to include water. Handling and packing areas that are generally dry, may benefit from “dry” cleaning. Brushes, brooms, & vacuums may be used to complete necessary cleaning. Waterless cleaning products …

Exclusion Netting for Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

If you grow berry crops you’ve most likely heard of spotted wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii). This invasive pest has caused significant crop losses in the region since at least 2011. While there are chemical pesticides with varied efficacy, one practice that we’ve focused on is physical exclusion with netting. Pioneered in the region by …

Starting-up Heaters without Getting Burned – Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heater Safety Checks

As the days grow longer and warmer, we can’t help turning our attention to germination chambers, propagation houses, greenhouses, and high tunnels. It is an exciting time of year, but also a time to take some extra care with heating appliances. Before firing up the heaters in your heated growing spaces, take the time to …

Preventing Freezing in Produce Coolers

Occasionally, during longer cold snaps, we receive a lot of questions about storage crops freezing in coolers. This post summarizes some ideas for preventing freezing. Summary Seal up the cooler box – stop drafts by sealing the cooler walls and doors. Keep produce off the floor and away from the walls – break conduction paths …

Warm Rooms for Storage Crops & Freeze Protection for Coolers

Some crops like winter squash and sweet potatoes are ideally kept in “warm” rooms for long-term storage. It is also helpful to have some freeze protection even in cold storage rooms during the winter months when outside temperatures drop below the storage temperature. The information below should help accomplish both of these needs simply and …

Repairing Cracks and Pitting in Concrete Floors

A video guide on this topic is available here. A printable PDF version of this guide is available here. Introduction Concrete slab floors, ramps, steps, and loading docks make it easier to move produce and produce handling equipment using wheels. The smooth surfaces also allow for easier clean up and wash down at the end …

Drying and Curing Herbs and Flowers (Hops, Hemp, and Everything Else!)

Many farms are exploring market diversification and season extension by drying or “curing” herbs and flowers. Whether the crop is culinary herbs (e.g. sage, rosemary, thyme), traditional herbal medicines, decorative flowers, hops for brewing, or CBD hemp the basic approach is the same. Drying boils down to removing water from plant matter by evaporating it …

Safely Dispensing Sanitizers

Sanitizers used for treating post-harvest agricultural water on produce farms often come in 2.5, 5, or 10 gallon totes. These totes can be cumbersome to pour from resulting in splashing and spilling. These chemicals are also shipped in concentrations that can cause injury. Here are some simple ways of increasing the safety and accuracy of …

Shedding Some Light in the Shed – Lighting for Indoor Work on the Farm

As the days shorten and we turn the clocks back, it may be a great time to think about installing or improving lights in some of our indoor spaces. Maybe you could use a bit more light to see the drill size marking in the workshop. Or, perhaps, you’d like to be able to sort …

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