After years of complicated choreography involving a rotating cast of multiple refrigerators (some of which dated back to the 1950’s), too many extension cords running heavy on delicate fuses, fans and wet towels trying to preserve moisture and humidity, and a truly scary root cellar, the unspeakable has happened. We built a cooler.
We’ve gone to great lengths to keep our veggies fresh and cool - which is a problem that you have never considered until you have a farm, and then becomes the most urgent need you’ve got. We’ve begged and borrowed space to maintain the right temperature for our growing harvests. We’ve woken up hours before a market to find a fridge full of frozen lettuce. We’ve developed completely insane techniques for fitting more crates into a standard size fridge than you would think possible. It’s been a near-constant and near-impossible juggle for years. We may very well be wary of domestic cold storage equipment for the rest of our lives.
I may be an architect but my dad is the real building genius. When we asked him to help us build a completely freestanding cooler in a small historic barn, using lightweight and easily movable materials, for significantly less money than a prefabricated walk-in, he didn’t even blink. Instead, he showed up with a trailer full of 2” pink insulating foam – and my family, the best building crew in the universe – in tow. And 24 hours later we had a cooler, mostly consisting of foam and weatherproofing tape, which was brilliantly designed to be maximally efficient and simple to deconstruct and move. It reached precisely 41 degrees ten minutes after we turned it on, and has stayed that way ever since. We have rejoiced. To say my family is awesome is a vast understatement, and we’ve got the perfectly stable cold storage environment nestled in our barn to prove it.
And remember the most important rule: you can't let the tape stick to itself or you're screwed. THANK YOU, Guckers. You rock.