I pick my produce for sale at a day or two later, for delivery to restaurants. Its also very important to get the produce cooled quickly. The longer is sits in warm air, it starts to deteriorate and doesn't last nearly as long as produce that is quickly cooled after harvest. This will allow me to sell a much fresher looking product. This especially applies to lettuce that will start wilting immediately after picking if you don't get it into refrigeration
I applied for a Kiva Zip loan which is a interest free loan funded by friends, family, and 55,000 lenders internationally. Thanks to 30 people I know and another 68 Kiva Zip lenders, I reached the $5000.00 loan by the 45 days. I want to thank my friends, associates, and especially the RFSA (Riverside Food Systems Alliance) and Riverside Food Cooperative who made a last minute appeal to the members who helped me reach the goal. I have already made the first payment, so those of you who made a loan should see it in your account.
I was originally going to buy a commercial cooler and expected to spend 6000-8000.00 but after I started the loan, I learned of another method. I saw a cooler at Uncommon good in Upland and they were using a basic shed with a window air conditioner. They were using the coolbot controller which turns a simple window air conditioner into a vegetable cooler.
Here are some of the images with the coolbot system
I decided to utilize this method. I hired someone to build the shed - so with the air conditioner with was $538.00, The coolbot controller - $299.00 - and the shed with insulation for 1680.00 My cooler cost $2517.00. Although I had received $5000.00, I only used half of it. I am using the other half to build a chicken coop, which will help on the farm by providing weed control, bug control, organic fertilizer, and eggs to sell. I will post about that on my blog in another entry.
Here are images of the shed being built and finished.