by Gary Mount
This fall has been a busy and exciting time at the farm. One of the items of greatest interest is our new barn. We have found that many of our visitors seem to end up near or in the barn. Their comments and questions are many. One comment I particularly like is they don’t make barns like this anymore. Questions like who designed it? Jerry Ford of Ford3 Architects. Who built it? Sylvan Stoltzfus Builders from Lancaster, Pa. Exterior siding is cypress, The roof is standing seam painted steel, interior framing of the dry storage area is called timber framing – actually just like our 160 year old barn, the wooden beams are hemlock with oak pegs holding it together.
The timber frame section is for storing stuff, also known as Gary’s Treasures.l’ll also store items which are presently stored in the old barn as we are working on plans for that to become home to Terhune’s new winery.
I might mention that there is some family discussion as to the sole use of the timber framed area as storage of Gary’s Treasures. It has turned out to be a wonderful area for events, dinners, barn dances, parties Groan!! Gary’s Treasures may have to be packed rather tightly together in the back!
The section of the barn on the left as you look at it contains three cold storage rooms. Two large rooms keep fruit at 32 degrees and one smaller room can keep melons, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers at 55 degrees, or apples at 32 degrees, or frozen items at 0 degrees.
This magnificent assemblage of coldness is powered by the (noisy) equipment in a small room off the timber framed area. There are two 30 horsepower cooling compressors. Both are needed for rapid cool down of apples in the fall. Only one is needed for maintaining the temperature after that. The walls and ceilings of the cold storage rooms are six inch urethane foam to keep heat infiltration at a minimum.
Another machine keeps room 2 at a low oxygen level to keep the apples in good condition of firmness and crispness for longer storage. Room 2 is kept locked during this storage time and is well aired out before anyone goes in to remove apples. Making room 2 operate properly has been a challenge. It has to be air tight to prevent oxygen from getting in the room. We check this by putting a slight air pressure in the room and then squirting soapy water on possible trouble spots – of which there has been too many.
Having this cold storage right on the farm is turning out to be even better that I thought it would be. I am able to put all of each day’s apple picking in 32 degrees storage each evening. When we need the apples to sell, we open the door and there they are!
As I write this there are two things left to do. This month, solar panels will be installed on the south side of the roof . They will generate electricity to offset the cost of running the refrigeration equipment. And the last will be lightning rods. My friend Dick Lee, of Lee Turkey Farm visited last week (to see the new barn) and reminded me. Many a barn has been lost to fire caused by lighting. Lightning rods reduce the chances of lighting striking the building and if it does, the lightning rods are grounded to provide a safer path for the lightning to reach the earth.