Last year, refrigeration was kind of an issue during harvest days. We have a little mini-fridge, and our regular household fridge. And I found myself spending a lot time rearranging the fridge, delicately balancing bags of greens on top of our normal fridge contents (and hoping they didn't topple out every time the fridge was opened), and shoving squash in unusual places.
As I have been researching and brainstorming how to handle refrigeration this year, the most economical way turns out to be building a walk-in cooler from scratch. That's right. Build a walk-in cooler. A recent innovation in the market gardening/small farm world is a Cool Bot. You connect this up to a regular window air conditioner, and voila! It tricks the air conditioner into cooling the space down to refrigerator temperatures. So then you just need a small space to cool. After much internal debate (and maybe a wee bit of external debate with my husband), I decided to build this small space in an existing small space that has been mostly unused. Meant to house a hawk (my oldest was obsessed with becoming a falconer for many years), it served as a home to goats during my brief foray into goat ownership (turns out, escape-artist goats do not mesh well with hot-tub owning neighbors), and after a brief sojourn as storage for excess gardening supplies, now, it will house a small walk-in cooler, and packing area for vegetable shares. So, after some brief de-construction, we (let's be honest, it was mostly Aaron, who faced with my incompetence in planning a build, jumps in to run the show with my meager assistance) built a new floor (over the gravel portion meant for a hawk to live in), and framed up a small room. The room will be as insulated as I can make it, with standard fiberglass insulation in the floors, walls, and ceiling, and then covered with 2-inch thick polystyrene sheets.
We made pretty good progress over the course of a weekend, which was really one full day of work. I still need to cut out the hole for the AC unit, and add the polystyrene. But we are getting close!