Mark's father ran a subsistence farm in eastern Washington, where Mark grew up learning the ins-and-outs of providing one's own food. Stocking up for winter was a big part of what summer was about, and we carry on that tradition here at Jericho Settlers Farm. In addition to growing winter salad greens in our hoophouses all winter, another key part of the great winter food diversity we offer at JSF is our root vegetables, which we store from October through May to keep us all eating Good Food Year Round.
We have four large coolers at the farm, one in the "old barn" and three in our more recent investment, the "new barn". These coolers are set to different temperatures and humidity conditions to accommodate different vegetables' needs. Certain root vegetables, like carrots and beets, store best in very cold and very humid conditions. Others, like potatoes and cabbage, like the temperature a little warmer, but still cool and humid. Then the onions and garlic like cold but dry conditions. And lastly the winter squash and sweet potatoes like to stay warm and relatively dry all winter.
As with all things on the farm, we aim to be energy efficient with our storage infrastructure. This past summer we installed a Fre-Heater system that captures excess heat from the cooler compressors and pumps it into the "warm room" where the squash, pie pumpkins and sweet potatoes stay snug all winter. By late winter, when the squash and sweet potatoes are all eaten, we then divert this "captured heat" to our greenhouse when we start it up for seedling production for the next season.
When stored in the proper conditions we can eat a carrot or potato in March that was grown the previous August and harvested in October and it will still be super delicious and nutritious. Get in on this Good Food Year Round with our Winter CSA! You too can eat local and delicious all winter long.