Friday, February 24, 2012

Harvesting Ice in a Warm Winter

Because the growers of Clarion River Organics do not have electricity on their farms, they rely on ice to cool their produce throughout the summer. They usually cut the ice from their ponds during the coldest part of winter when temperatures are in the teens and below for days on end. That yields six inch thick blocks which will last all through the summer and into the next winter. Unfortunately this winter was so warm that thick ice never formed on the ponds. Finally the farmers broke down and after a cold couple days in February they went out in boats to collect the thin layer of ice that was their last hope. Using garden rakes they broke the ice into pieces and pushed it towards the end of the pond by the ice house.

There a motorized conveyor carried the ice into a small hole cut out of the wall of the ice house.

As you can see, the ice this year was only about a half inch thick.

By the end of the day they had filled the 16 foot by 16 foot room 8 feet high with ice.

The ice in that room will keep any produce stored in
the adjacent room at 35-40 degrees even in the hottest months of summer.

The farmers cleared this entire acre-plus pond of ice in one day. This should be enough to get them well into the fall of this year, and hopefully next winter will be a better ice making season.

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