... in our new walk-in! Things have been busy at the farm with harvesting and flipping beds from spring to fall crops (not to mention the endless hours each day spent on irrigation). But we (well actually, just Matt) finally did the big push on installing our walk-in cooler! We haven't finished off the exterior yet, but so far, it's working great!
We use recycled 2 to 4 inch foam panels to insulate an 8x10 framed box (we did floor, ceiling, and walls). There is a plywood floor. Matt hung 2 layers of panels in opposite directions (so there are no gaps for cold air to escape) and used spray foam insulation to fill in any gaps.
We bought the panels from a place in Oneonta that recycles material from cold storage facilities (like apple storage warehouses).
They were pretty easy to work with. It took Matt about three full days to build the insulated box, install the door, and set up the AC.
We just used a standard exterior door since it was easier to work with than a real walk-in cooler door.
For refrigeration, we used an air conditioner and a Cool Bot (check out their website here). It's basically a little box that tricks the AC unit to go really low (like down to 32 degrees). We went this route over a standard refrigerator largely for cost reasons. First, the Cool Bot is much cheaper than a compressor (like a quarter to a tenth of the cost, depending on the compressor). Second, it's cheaper to operate since you are essentially just running an AC unit rather than a whole large compressor.
So far, everything is working great. We are excited at how much more efficient this should make our harvesting (and it will help us bring even higher quality produce to market!). Plus, in the winter time, we can reverse the whole process and use the space as a root cellar so we can extent the CSA season!