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What's inside.

Root Cellar Construction

MFVGA'S Beginning Growers Manual

An Introduction to Pest and Disease Problems

Insect & Disease Diagnostic Key


Small Farm Home Page


Food Farm Storage Facility

Food Farm is a 200-acre community-supported agriculture farm located in Wrenshall, Minnesota. It has 100 summer vegetable shares, 36 winter vegetable shares, pastured poultry, and egg shares. The farm is run by John Fisher-Merritt and his family according to the biodynamic philosophy. The farm also wholesales certified organic vegetables to the Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth.


Food Farm installed automatic temperature control and a monitoring system in their rootcellar.

Food Farm received a sustainable agriculture grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to fund this project. Read about this on the MDA website starting on page 34 in the 2004 Greenbook .

RIGHT PHOTO: John (with black cap) and Jane Fisher-Merritt (on right with back to camera) held a tour of their rootcellar on August 5, 2001.





PHOTO LEFT: This box is hooked up to to the computer that monitors, records, and adjusts temperatures in the storage areas.






PHOTO LEFT: When necessary, this vent opens to increase air flow to a storage bin or room.







There are 3 storage rooms kept at different temperatures - one room for rutabagas, parsnips, and carrots, another room for squash, and a third room for onions and potatoes.

How well did the rootcellar perform in the 2001-2002 season? Here's the data taken at the beginning of March:

Commodity Food Farm University Cooler
Rutabagas 14.6% weight loss 65.6% loss (50% RH)
Sprouting No sprouting
Delicata squash 18.% weight loss 35.2% weight loss
Rot (45 F) No rot (50 F)

Carrots from Food Farm had an average brix of 8.52 (5 carrots sampled) in late October. In early March, the average brix was 7.96 (5 carrots sampled).

At harvest in 2003, Food Farm carrots had an average brix of 7.35 (10 carrots sampled). The brix did not change with storage. The average brix of Food Farm carrots in February 2004 was 7.5 (10 carrots sampled).

To see how much it cost to build the rootcellar, click here.
To see a schematic of the rootcellar insulation, click here.
To see what vegetables in the rootcellar look like, click here.
To see 2001 monthly temperature data for the rootcellar, click here.
To see February - June 2002 temperature data for the rootcellar, click here.
To see July 2002 - January 2003 temperature data for the rootcellar, click here.
To see July 2003 November 2003 temperature data for the rootcellar, click here.
To see December 2003 to February 2004 temperature data for the rootcellar, click here.


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