Project Haines Harvest is our farm's attempt to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown produce for the communities of Haines and Klukwan. Four Winds Farm is currently the only operating vegetable farm selling fresh produce to the general public in the area. In the past three years we have observed rapidly growing interest in fresh produce and healthy eating in our community. We currently grow 40 different fruit and vegetable crops using organic methods. Four Winds Farm is registered with the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Women Infants and Children Nutritional Programs in Alaska. Strong local participation in these programs in 2015 led to a surge in demand for our produce at the weekly Haines Farmers Market, outstripping our supply.
The farm has sufficient garden space to grow considerably more produce in 2016 but currently lacks cold storage. Without proper cold storage most crops must be harvested the morning of the market to ensure quality. This project will build cold storage on the farm, effectively lengthening the harvest period preceding the market. With the ability to store crops for a longer harvest period (2-3 days) we will eliminate the bottleneck and be able to effectively harvest larger amounts for the market. Without cold storage we can't expand our harvest.
The cold storage will be an insulated room of 6' by 8' built onto the north side of the farm's existing produce processing building. The thermal mass of the existing building will block heat gain from the sun. Cooling will be provided by a CoolBot refrigeration system. CoolBots were invented by a farmer as an alternative to conventional walk-in coolerfor small-scale applications. They can be built for less than the cost of purchasing a walk-in cooler and use less energy. The CoolBot consists of a readily available window air conditioner coupled with a custom controller enabling a small room to achieve refrigerator temperatures, 35-40 degrees F.
Funded by Alaska (March 2016)