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Walk-in coolers benefit small farmers by extending produce shelf life and maintaining quality for consumers. For example, Haydn Christensen at Bayberry Fresh grows cherry tomatoes during the summer and harvests about 10 crates each day at the height of the season. He only delivers a few times a week, however, and needs a space to keep the tomatoes fresh for delivery. A walk-in cooler allows him to do that.

A simple DIY walk-in cooler can store produce for the few days or hours that farmers need to bridge before getting produce to the consumer.

Since they are simple and cheap to build, walk-in coolers are one of the best options for small growers. Haydn showed us his recently built cooler to give us an idea of what it takes to build one.

If you have basic carpentry skills, you should be able to build the cooler yourself without a problem. Haydn used 2X4s for a frame and a double wall of 2” insulation panels. The door, he says, was the trickiest part of the process. The door needs to be snug to avoid air loss. He got some help on this part of the cooler.

To cool the 8X8’ room, Haydn used a simple 12K BTU window A/C unit that he already had. The unit goes down to 50º F, which is all he needs for his tomatoes. Other growers storing more needy crops should consider other options, however.


Timestamps / What’s Covered:

00:20 – Why Build A Cooler?
00:44 – How Difficult Is It To Build?
01:19 – How To Control Temperature In Your Cooler
02:24 – The Benefits Of Having A Cooler
03:11 – What Size Cooler Do You Need?


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20 thoughts on “DIY Walk-in Cooler for Small Farms

  1. Tim Satterfield says:

    I don't think you can keep that thermal insulation board exposed and be code compliant. I believe it is combustible. I get it…small project, no big deal. For anyone wanting to build to code, however, probably have to cover with Fire code drywall.

  2. BTJ says:

    Add a CoolBot to your A/C and knock your harvest down to temp really quick. We've never looked back since buying ours ten years ago. Good job and good lucck!

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