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UVM Extension to Deliver Statewide Food Storage Workshops

squash storage

Burlington--Demand for local produce year-round is on the rise as demonstrated in increasing interest in winter farmers markets and winter CSAs (community-supported agriculture). Growers are now recognizing enhanced value in storing and marketing their produce year-round, however, crop storage can be costly and the need to construct and operate an efficient and well-designed system is essential to a farm's profitability in winter and early spring markets.

To address these challenges, University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, will offer five full-day workshops on crop storage for fruit and vegetable growers, aggregators, processors and distributors this fall. Workshops will focus on long-term storage of crops for sale throughout the winter and into early spring but will be relevant to many agricultural and food storage needs.

Each workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dates and locations include:

Sept. 17--UVM Extension Office, 8 University Way, Brattleboro

Sept. 19--UVM Extension Office, Howe Center Business Park, 1 Scale Ave., Suite 55, Rutland

Oct. 9--Yankee Farm Credit, 52 Farmvu Dr., White River Junction

Oct. 10--UVM Extension Office, 374 Emerson Falls Rd., Suite 1, St. Johnsbury

Oct. 16--Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne

The $20 workshop fee will include a light breakfast and lunch, a pre-course workbook and all reference materials. Participants from neighboring states are encouraged to attend.

For more information and to register for the workshop, visit go.uvm.edu/g40hn or contact the UVM Extension Office in Rutland at (802) 773-3349 or toll-free at (800) 281-6977 (Vermont calls only). Individuals requesting a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program should contact Pamela Lowell at this number by Sept. 10.

The instructor is UVM Extension Agricultural Engineer Chris Callahan, whose work focuses on enhancing Vermont's food systems through education and outreach programs on analysis, design, evaluation and adoption of infrastructure, technology and equipment that meets the needs of food producers and processors. In the workshop, Callahan will cover the growing importance of long-term crop storage, principles of energy and heat transfer, basic heating and refrigeration, construction for utility and efficiency, maintaining temperature, airflow and humidity, biological processes of crops in storage, storage characteristics of various crops and sizing and design of storage systems.

The workshops will include a combination of pre-class work, instruction, group discussion, hands-on activities and individual work time. Participants are encouraged to bring information on their own storage needs and plans to review with the class and instructor.

Growers who already have systems in place will benefit from an enhanced understanding of storage needs of each crop and will gain ideas on how to increase efficiency or expand existing systems. Those who have not yet begun to store crops will benefit from in-class work time devoted to designing an individualized system from scratch. Participants will leave with the skills and knowledge to create or enhance their crop storage systems based and the individual needs of each farm and the various crops they grow and store.

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