Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE04-521.
When we started this project, we hoped to find a significant number of people with underground caves utilizing only the soil temp to regulate the temperature in the aging space. We found that most people with underground caves has quite a fluctuation in temperature throughout the year (sometimes as much as 15 degrees Fahrenheit) and that nay folks with an underground cave have ended up installing conventional refrigeration. We did encounter new methods to increase humidity that we had not considered before (agricultural misters placed periodically around the periphery of the room). The CoolBot is also a new device that some cheese-makers are very happy with. It allows you to utilize a standard air conditioner to keep your aging space cool (normally an air conditioner is not able to cool a room to the desired cool temps for cheese). Another surprise we found, was how similar the storage temps are for potatoes that will be processed and cheese. Though the buildings for potatoes are much larger than what a farm our size would require it might be a good opportunity for a cooperative aging arrangement. The response to our survey was quite positive. Cheese folks agreed that there is not a lot of knowledge out there about how to create an appropriate aging space.