2022 - Volume #46, Issue #2, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
They Wash And Spin Greens Clean
“Cooling down and washing greens is a market gardener’s bottleneck,” says Jose, who runs a year-round organic production company in Indianapolis, Ind., with his business partner Amy Matthews.
They used to put greens in 2-lb. mesh bags and move them through three rinse tanks. After drip-drying for a time, they’d be spun out in a hand spinner a pound of greens at a time.
“The system placed a surprising strain on our backs, and the hand crank salad spinner wasn’t a sustainable tool for processing up to 200 lbs. of salad greens per week,” recalls Jose.
They needed a low-cost, efficient greens processing system.
Their new wash station is enclosed in double-walled greenhouse plastic with landscape fabric topped by gravel for a floor. Hand-built worktables handle incoming and outgoing greens.
The heart of the washing system is a 100-gal. stock tank with a bubbler system. Greens are added to the stock tank for a quick cool down and rinse. They’re then transferred in approximately 2 lb. lots to plastic mesh baskets. The baskets are sized to fit a converted washing machine. After drip-drying for a few minutes in an empty stock tank, they’re moved to the spinner. After a 2-min. spin, they’re transferred to a clean tote.
“We purchased a greens bubbler tutorial from Dry Your Greens (www.dryyourgreens.com) and modified it,” says Jose. “It included plans for how to build a bubbler and how to convert the washer to a spinner.”
Jose’s bubbler uses a 1 hp. blower he bought at a Jacuzzi supply store to blow air through a pvc tube system lined with holes. An industrial sink drain and an attached flexible pipe drain away wash water.
Jose and Matthews used a Whirlpool Cabrio model washing machine that met the specifications in the tutorial. At the time they also purchased a parts kit for the conversion from Dry Your Greens.
“Our system with one bubbler and the spinner works well for us,” says Jose. “If we did more than we do now, we might want a second bubbler tank. However, the one spinner would still be sufficient.”
Jose likes the increased productivity of the wash station, which cut greens washing/drying time in half. He and Matthews also appreciate the opportunity to multi-task.
“We have the bubbler and the spinner set on timers,” he says. “This allows the operator to start the process and do other tasks while the greens are bubbling or spinning.”
Jose developed the system with the help of a $6,000 SARE grant.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mad Farmers Collective, 2052 S. Meridian St, Indianapolis, Ind. 46225 (ph 317-446-9448; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.madfarmerscollective.com; www.facebook.com/madfarmerscollective).
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