Cold Weather Storage

y folks have found over the years, that the fall’s harvest keeps better if it is allowed to ‘cure’ and dry out a bit outside, before being stored in the basement or root cellar, inside the house.  This is especially important for the onions and garlic, which are stored up in the attic of the corn crib on window screens where there is a lot of air movement because the slat walls are not solid.  They are taken out of the garden in July/August whenever the green tops look completely dead and put up on the screens, then taken into the root cellar when the danger of freezing looms.  The potatoes, squash, and apples, we like to keep in the barn as long as we can in the fall, before having to bring them into the basement when they are in danger of freezing.   Even without insulation or heat, the barn usually gives us a nice window of several weeks that the crops can stay outside and be protected from freezing.  In the future, during the fall when I am using the downstairs of the barn to teach art classes, I am hopeful the unheated hayloft will provide an ideal environment to store the fall crops.

I believe this project at the farm must coincide with my parent’s practice of subsistence farming and other interests.  Their desire to raise their own food and use the space at the farm to do many things themselves, is a big part of why I am an adult with a creative career, and why I work the way I do.   I think their way of living is becoming rare and is a powerful example to see in action.  One of my objectives in investing my time, labor, and money into my family farm is to work with my parents to continue parts of this way of life because I think is worth it, and it is foundational to my creative pursuits, and connected to the educational experiences I hope to offer others at the farm.


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