Designing a Cost-Efficient Salad Greens Wash Area for Small-Scale Growers

Project Overview

FNC18-1129
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $6,210.00
Projected End Date: 05/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Mad Farmers Collective
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Matthew Jose
Mad Farmers Collective

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, technical assistance, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Small-scale market growers are increasingly interested in the opportunities that exist within salad greens production. The attraction is obvious: they are a quick-growing crop that does not take up

    significant physical space; they are an accessible market product, in regards to customer familiarities and preferences; and, if grown well, the greens can be sold for a premium.

    One of the surest ways for a farm to realize the full financial benefits of salad green production is to insure that the entire process is pursued as efficiently as possible. Even if the bed preparation, crop care, and harvesting are completed easily and quickly, it is easy for those efficiencies to be lost in the processing stage – the harvest tote might be incorrectly-sized for the task, small batch washing might be too time-consuming, and the resources devoted to salad green processing might negatively-impact the processing of other crops.

    This project focuses on the processing end of salad green production – designing a wash station that

    is affordable for new and small farms – one that incorporates tools and layout design for an efficient work flow and minimum time burden, while also maintaining a high bar for vegetable cleanliness and shelf life.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify the tools and wash station layout that will improve the processing of salad greens for restaurant and farmers market customers.
    2. Build a model wash station for small farm salad green
    3. Compare the time and spatial burdens of this new wash station with the farm’s previous practices through worker feedback and time monitoring of relevant tasks.
    4. Share findings (feedback and time monitoring, in addition to wash station implements and design) through field days and website and social media.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.