In my ongoing effort to preserve as much food as possible I’ve had to experiment with alternative ways of storing food. I’ve done a lot of research and consulting a lot of desperate agricultural exports.  From extension offices to Amish farmers to YouTube. In my search to optimize my 40% food savings I wanted to discover a way to preserve soft flesh vegetables like squash. A lot of the advice was to store squashed wrapped tightly in paper and stored in an open air container in a dry, dark, temperature regulated environment. I tried that. As you can see in the photo below it’s not a success. You can see the squashes wetting the paper wrapping with their death throes. I have to keep experimenting I guess.

Yellow and Green Squash Stored in a Basket Wrapped Tightly In Paper in a Dark Cellar. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

My takeaway here is that I have found that the laws of physics, specifically the Boltzmann Constant do apply. (Boltzmann Constant: 1.38064852 × 10-23 m2 kg s-2 K-1). You might know the Boltzmann Constant as entropy. We went away for a week to spend time off farm with family and nature continued on in my absence running on autopilot and oxidizing my valuable vegetables in storage. But we really needed that break. Being on all day at work and on all night and weekends at Mezzacello is hard to balance. Entropy was eating at us too. Usually I can leverage technology and systems to offset some of these burdens. But not this time – not yet at least.

Being out on vacation meant I was not continuously monitoring the food stores in my root cellar. This is one of the major differences between Modern Urban Farming and Traditional Farming. In a traditional farm there is someone on hand all the time. But in a modern lifestyle, you will have to be away and you need systems in place to replace that large family of the traditional farm into play. I think I have an idea though. I want to design a sensor that will “read” the amounts of CO2 and Sulphur in the local area. This will allow me to know when rot is happening and then I can act quickly to get someone over there if I am out. But I also need to extend my root cellar one step forward – a refrigerated room that will extend the storage of soft cell vegetables even further. That’s a phase III project though.

Let me know in the comments if you have any lessons or ideas on how I can extend the life of soft cell vegetables longer without the use of a walk in refrigerator or freezer.

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