This week my family have been working on a modified root cellar for winter storage. Traditionally, a root cellar would be built into the ground. This would give the vegetables a consistent temperature and humidity throughout the seasons. We will try to build a real root cellar next spring.
This winter we will have to be satisfied with a modified work shed. The work shed is a typical 8’x12′ wood-frame constructed building. The building will be too dry. We will have to put pails of water in the building to increase humidity. We will have to heat the structure during the coldest parts of the winter, something a true root cellar would not require.
We will be sourcing vegetables for storage over the next few weeks. We will be looking for potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, cabbage, assorted types of squash, garlic, hot peppers, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips and shallots. As I said before, I am not a local food zealot. But I like to buy as much as I can locally. My largest household expense is food. When I purchase my food locally, my money stays in our community. Also, the quality is better. It is great to be able to look at my plate and know where everything on it came from. It makes me feel somehow more connected.
I am madly making sour kraut and kimchi. I am always amazed at how many cabbages can go into a crock. These crocks will be stored in the root cellar for later consumption.
There are lots of great places to find local food for root cellar winter storage. These are some of the producers I have used this year:
1. Zaparango Organic Farm (certified organic)
Robert Vanderlip T: 250.318.0235
potatoes, carrots, onions, assorted squash, livestock feed corn
2. Lyne Farm (un-sprayed)
Liz Lyne T:250.578.8266
pickling cucumbers, beets, carrots
3. Farmhouse Herbs (certified organic)
Paula and Mendel Rubinsons T: 250.373.2312
pickling cabbage, onions, shallots, parsnips
4. Gort?s Gouda Cheese Farm (certified organic)
raw gouda, smoked raw gouda (Have Gort’s cut the large wheels into eight segments and vacuum pack. Each piece will naturally age and easily last through the winter months.)
5. Highland Farm (certified organic)
garlic, cherries, apples
Undated May 13, 2012: Last winter we finished the root cellar. It is forty feet long and three feet wide. There is another ten feet of covered space on the outside of the root cellar for storage of garden equipment. Here are some pictures taken as I clean out the root cellar today. It will give you an idea of what to expect if you store high quality produce.