Extending the Season in Northern Wisconsin Through Processing Vegetable Production

Project Overview

ONC18-039
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2018: $29,891.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Bayfield County UW-Extension
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Jason Fischbach
Bayfield County UW-Extension

Information Products

Commodities

  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: beans, broccoli, carrots, cucurbits

Practices

  • Crop Production: varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution, new enterprise development
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, partnerships

    Abstract:

    Vegetable producers in northern Wisconsin are having success marketing their produce via community supported agriculture, but with the very short growing season they are looking for ways to extend their marketing season. The Lake Superior CSA, for example, is operated by the Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative and provides a Whole Diet share including meats, fruits, and vegetables from late-May through early-March. The winter vegetables are primarily storage crops like carrots, potatoes, garlic, and winter squash and to retain existing and attract new customers the growers want to diversify their winter vegetable offerings. In partnership with Jason Fischbach of UW-Extension, the growers have conducted on-farm research to optimize winter high-tunnel spinach production and through that work now supply spinach October-April. With that success, the growers would like to now optimize frozen vegetables for direct sale to consumers and to wholesalers.

     

    In addition to expansion of regional CSA, the growers have partnered with Northland College to help meet the College’s goal of 80% local foods. To that end, Northland established the Food Lab, which includes a processing kitchen and blast freezer. Through this project, we will identify varieties of carrots, potatoes, green beans, and broccoli best suited for blast freezing.

    Project objectives:

    1.Conduct on-farm variety trials to evaluate the yield, pest-resistance, and maturity of 5 varieties each of carrots, green beans, broccoli, and potatoes.

    2a. Blast freeze samples of each of the varieties included in the farm trials for sensory panel evaluation of texture, color, and flavor at 1, 3, and 6 months after freezing.

    2b. Blast freeze samples of 40 of the top performing varieties from the UW-Madison Seed-to-Kitchen vegetable variety trials for sensory panel evaluation of texture, color, and flavor at 1, 3, and 6 months after freezing.

    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.