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  • Farmer’s Favorites: The AZS Rinse Conveyor
    Vegetable growers are seeking tools to improve flexibility and efficiency in the packshed. The AZS Rinse Conveyor is becoming a popular piece of equipment to meet the need to rinse off a variety of crops.  Table of Contents OverviewCommon Uses Cost User Reviews Use as a Bin Washer Contact information This machine is designed and … Read more
  • Farmer’s Favorite: Univerco Barrel Washer
    Josh Carter is the manager of the market garden at Shelburne Farms.  They grow three acres of certified organic fruit, vegetables and flowers while supporting an educational mission. They wanted to eliminate a bottleneck in their postharvest systems of hand washing roots with hoses and power washers, turning them around by hand or in crates. … Read more
  • Farmer’s Favorites: Shipping Containers and Their Use on Vegetable Farms
    Farming requires lots of space. Space to grow vegetables, conditioned space to store harvested produce, and a secure space to house tools out of the weather. Barns and tool sheds can be expensive, and building takes time. If you’re farming on rented land, it’s even harder to justify the investment in a permanent building. Shipping … Read more
  • Expanding Infrastructure and Maximizing its Potential at Jericho Settlers Farm
    Mark Fasching and Christa Alexander run Jericho Settlers Farm where they grow “good food year round” in Jericho, Vermont. Like many, they started out with a garden and roadside stand and continually expanded to growing over 30 acres of vegetables with 18 greenhouses. As their business expanded over the years, so did their infrastructure needs.  … Read more
  • Natural Light in the Packshed at High Meadows Farm
    Howard Prussack of High Meadows Farm in Westminster West, Vermont grows 7 acres of vegetables and wanted to improve his vegetable washing space. He imagined a bright and warm space instead of the dark and cool dairy barn they were working out of. With a goal of creating a fun and happy place to work, … Read more
  • A Three-Season Structure Keeps the Momentum at Flywheel Farm
    Ansel Ploog and Justin Cote run Flywheel Farm in Woodbury, Vermont. They wholesale 2 acres of organic vegetables to local co-op stores and through a regional distributor. When starting their farm in 2012, they understood they needed a spot to wash and pack their produce, undercover and off the ground. They chose to go with … Read more
  • Top 5: Working with Contractors on a Postharvest Project
    Key Takeaways Introduction Construction projects are both exciting and daunting. There’s great joy in dreaming about a new space or a renovated work area, but there can be a long windy path full of dread and stress between what you have now and what you hope to have in the future. Working with a contractor … Read more
  • Duijndam Machines – Used Equipment from Europe
    Way back in 2019, we visited Duijndam Machines in The Netherlands. We had heard from growers in the northeast about this fantastical place where used equipment from European growers goes, not to die, but to be reborn. We had to see it for ourselves. And to bring home some video of our tour. The video … Read more
  • Easy Breezy Three Season Packshed at Stout Oak Farm 
    Kate Donald began farming at Stout Oak Farm in Brentwood, NH in 2012. As the farm grew she quickly realized they could only handle one, or maybe two infrastructure projects at a time. Much of these improvements went into production practices, and greenhouses that clearly penciled out to be wise investments in the farm. Now, … Read more
  • New Metal Building from Scratch at Hall Brook Farm
    Pheonix and Megan O’Brien of Hall Brook Farm purchased their farm in Thorndike, Maine in 2016, and are growing over 20 acres of vegetables with over ⅓ acre in high tunnels. They have experienced rapid growth of the business in the last few years. In 2020 they had gross sales over $250,000 which expanded in … Read more
  • The Next Chapter: Renovating a Barn to Sustain Indian Line Farm 
    Elizabeth Keen and her husband Al have been farming at Indian Line Farm in Great Barrington, MA for over 25 years. After taking a sabbatical in 2016, they had the realization that after 10-15 years “just running the farm” it was time that some things needed to change to make the farm more sustainable in … Read more
  • “Dry Cleaning” on Produce Farms: Alternatives to Using Water & Detergents
    Key points: Related posts: Sharpening the Edges: Wash/Pack Efficiencies in a New Farm Building at Small Axe Farm Washing Machine Greens Spinners: Shopping Advice Backflow Prevention for Produce Farms Farmer’s Favorites: Cleaning Tools Planning an Efficient and Safe Wash/Pack Area
  • Farmer’s Favorites: Cleaning Tools
    As part of our SCRUB Project, we have been demonstrating a wide range of Cleaning Tools for Produce Farms, on-farm with growers. This has opened up the question, “Which one(s) should I buy for this specific cleaning task?” Based on our experience and feedback from partner farms, here are some of our favorites that we’d … Read more
  • Patient Pursuit of Packshed Happiness at Ananda Gardens
    Patrick Sullivan and Melisa Oliva have been farming for 5 years at Ananda Gardens, a CSA Farm in Middlesex, Vermont. They have been working to grow their farm and improve their wash-pack area as they renovated the 1950s dairy barn that stood on the property. They have 150 CSA members between the fall and spring … Read more
  • Washing Machine/Greens Spinner Conversion Guide
    Greens spinners play a vital role making greens production profitable for the small farm. Some farms find themselves stuck in the middle, where inexpensive, small-scale spinners cause a bottleneck, but it is hard to justify a more expensive industrial, stainless steel, restaurant-style machine. If you are just getting started, we have a full overview of … Read more
  • 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 The main culprit in freezing is most likely infiltration of cold, outside air into the cooler.  If you’re seeing freezing in one area, there … Read more
  • Root Washers for Produce Farms
    There are many ways to wash root crops on produce farms. This guide covers a range of options from smaller farms washing by hand to larger operations with fully automated wash lines.  Watch the Webinar Root Washing Systems with Hans Estrin | VVBGA Webinar Series Spray tables Spray tables are commonly used to rinse bunched … Read more
  • Building a Better Greens Bubbler
    Introduction Leafy greens are a popular crop among consumers seeking a healthy and nutritious diet year-round. As a crop that is grown close to the ground in a variety of systems, often it is important to remove soil from the leaves before marketing. A relatively high volume dunk tank with several, typically lower volume, follow-on … Read more
  • Sharpening the Edges: Wash/Pack Efficiencies in a New Farm Building at Small Axe Farm
    A video version of this case study is available here and a printable PDF is available here. Evan Perkins & Heidi Choate own and operate Small Axe Farm in Barnet, Vermont. Together, they have been farming mixed vegetables for over 20 years and have been running Small Axe Farm since 2008.  About Small Axe Farm … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • Giving a Dairy Barn New Life at New Leaf Organics
    A video version of this case study is available here and a printable PDF is available here. Jill Kopel owns and operates New Leaf Organics in Bristol, Vermont and has over 19 years of farming experience. After many years of growing crops and growing the business she made the decision to invest significantly in her … Read more
  • Project Planning for Postharvest Efficiency, Profitability & Food Safety (Free 8-Part Packshed Webinar)
    The UVM Extension Produce Safety Team has developed a video series focused on postharvest upgrades for your farm. Whether your project is organizing a relatively simple outside wash station or building a full packshed from scratch, we share the principles and practice with examples to help you make the most of it. An outline of … Read more
  • Washing Machine Greens Spinners: Cleaning Tips
    Washing machine greens spinners are often used for drying greens on small farms. They do require attention to cleaning and maintenance in order to keep them in sanitary working condition. This blog post highlights some tips to cleaning your greens spinner and provides links to six videos that focus on how to best clean these … Read more
  • Spray Tables for Produce Farms
    If we apply the principles of hygienic design to a spray table it becomes clear that we should think about the cleanability of the materials and the assembly while also thinking about how the materials will hold up over time with repeated use.
  • Drains for Produce Farms
    This guide provides background on planning for drains and drainage from produce wash and pack areas. Direct drains, floor and spot drains, and trench and gutter drains are discussed. A construction drawing for a trench drain is also provided. Related posts: Summer Twilight Series – Event Schedule Great Lakes EXPO Highlight Video Planning an Efficient … Read more
  • A Guide to Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting for Produce Farms
    This is a guide to understanding the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. It is focused on produce farms and is motivated by current concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Related posts: Planning an Efficient and Safe Wash/Pack Area Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19 Calculating Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heat … Read more
  • Planning an Efficient and Safe Wash/Pack Area
    By Chris Callahan, Hans Estrin, and Andy Chamberlin Reading not your thing? We have a free, 8-Part webinar video series that goes into depth on all of the following topics discussed below. Project Planning for Postharvest Efficiency, Profitability & Food Safety Summary Efficiency and food safety are integral parts of running a profitable and viable … Read more
  • Washing Machine Greens Spinners: Shopping Advice
    This blog post is for those using or considering a converted washing machine as greens spinner.  Background For background information on several different types of greens spinners and general thoughts on using washing machine conversions see this blog post.  If you’ve purchased a machine and are ready to convert it, see our Washing Machine/Greens Spinner … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • Last Resort Farm Not Stalled by Dairy Barn Conversion
    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 … Read more
  • Vegetable Wash Sinks, Tanks, Tubs and Basins: Upgrades for Efficiency and Ergonomics
    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. Commonly Used as … Read more
  • Last Resort Farm: Post Harvest Case Study (Video Series)
    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 … Read more
  • Cooler Construction Options – Walls and Panels
    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 efficient temperature control against a different outside temperature (which may be a warmer inside space) Seal … Read more
  • Mighty Clean and Comfortable (Video Series)
    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. … Read more
  • The BarnHouse: Optimized for Modern Day Vegetable Farming at Footprint Farm
     Download the PDF Fact Sheet of this Post Harvest Case Study Here! Taylor 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. Related … Read more
  • Footprint Farm: Post Harvest Case Study – Video Series
    Looking to upgrade your wash-pack space? Check out this interview with Taylor Hutchison from Footprint Farm talking about their motivations for building a new barn (house!) and including all the features they implemented to make it food safe and efficient. Stay tuned for a written case study, and a downloadable pdf coming soon. The playlist … Read more
  • Hanging Hoses
    Having water when and where you need it can make a big difference in vegetable wash station efficiency. Planning for multiple “drops” or spigots around the wash area can make it more convenient to access water where it is needed. Investing in a hose hanger, hose reel or a trolley can help keep the hose … Read more
  • Bins, Buckets, Baskets & Totes
    So you’re starting to farm, or scaling up your production. You hear talk about produce safety and cleanability.  You are checking out what other farms are doing and are looking for harvest crates and storage bins. You probably noticed lots of people use many different things. Some use 5-gallon pails, milk crates, muck buckets, some … Read more
  • Mighty Clean and Comfortable – A New Wash and Pack Shed at Mighty Food Farm
     Download this Postharvest Case Study as a PDF Here! 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 … Read more
  • Postharvest Resource Survey
    We are seeking input regarding a research and education project with the goal of consolidating postharvest information in a single set of resources. Our proposed project aims to consolidate existing knowledge, best practices, and new developments in postharvest equipment, infrastructure, and buildings into a web-based handbook, workshop curriculum / educational materials and recorded videos. Click … Read more
  • Greens Spinners for Farm Use
    Download the PDF Fact Sheet Here! Introduction An important factor in growing and selling high-quality salad greens is being able to efficiently wash, cool, and dry the product. The drying step is commonly done using centrifugal force in a spinner.  The water is spun off of the greens through a filter basket or other porous … Read more
  • Spring Cleaning – Farm Cooler Checklist
    Whether your winter storage rooms are getting bare or you are making the transition from sweet corn to potatoes, what better time to do a good cleaning and even sanitizing than now? Download this Guide & Checklist as a PDF Housekeeping Start by emptying the room and removing all visible debris with sweeping or vacuuming. … Read more
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