Coolers


Kavi Guards Pigs on Final Journey

We raise pastured pigs and deliver weekly to local stores and restaurants. We have a large commercial chest freezer in our van (20 cu-ft?). The van chest freezer is the type with sliding glass doors on top which makes it easier to get things in an out of it. I had tried putting a lift up lid freezer in the van but the lid couldn’t open high enough due to the ceiling. Fortunately we found this free freezer a few days later.

The freezer holds two whole pigs or about six pigs worth of cuts packed carefully. We joke that our van holds six people, six live pigs and six pigs of pork all at the same time. The van also holds one dog riding shotgun and on occasion 2,000 lbs of peanut butter, a ton of cheese and other interesting things.

For hand coolers during deliveries we primarily use 48 quart igloo coolers with flip up white handles on the end. The coolers are red with white lids. These hold what is a typical order for us, about 30 lbs, sometimes two orders with a divider. Currently these coolers cost about $15 each – I just bought a few more. There is a version that lacks the handles – don’t get it. The flip up handles makes it much easier to carry the coolers whether by one person or two.

We also have one double size hand cooler for very big orders. It holds about 70 to 80 lbs of meat and is best carried by two people.

To keep the temperatures down we pack ice packs in the coolers. It is important to pack the coolers tight. Pre-cool the coolers with ice jugs before putting the meat in for the best results during the hot weather. Packing coolers with fresh meat is much easier than with frozen meat.

Our delivery route takes much of the day and the coolers, especially with ice packs, will keep the meat very cold all day without any problem even in the hottest weather. You will notice the insulation in the walls and ceiling of the van – that helps keep the heat out and was done by the previous owner of the van. Sometime I would like to improve on that insulation – a project for another day.

A non-contact thermometer is about $50 and worth having to check to make sure your meat is staying cold enough (<<41°F). One of the larger stores we deliver meat to checks the incoming products this way. Outdoors: 73°F/46°F Rain, Spots of Sunshine
Farm House: 75°F/66°F Rabbit runs on the road
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/60°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Coolers

  1. heyercapital says:

    Always thinking of the customers- way to go Walter & Co!

  2. Brian says:

    If your intereseted in up-sizeing a bit, The U-HAUL store in Albany NY has MANY retired 1 ton and larger u haul trucks for sale I think a 1 ton could be had for approx 4,000 Second observation, Whk dont you mount a small generator on the back or roof of your van, or for that matter use an Inverter to power your freezer that way you dont have to mess with the ice.

  3. Joe Riederer says:

    Walter,

    You have written about some of the pig food you get from various…loved the peanut butter photo… Are there things you are offered that you don’t feed to your pigs? I just gave my six feeder pigs 20 pounds of apricots, but now I wonder if that was such a good idea. Is there anything in the pits that might be harmful?

    The pigs always have a locally ground feed mix to which I add dried kelp for trace minerals and diatomacous earth for internal parasites.

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Joe
    Central Wisconsin

  4. Joe, we’ve turned down a few offers, coincidentally one of them was apricots. The pits were a concern for us. Another example that we turned down was produce from a local large chain grocery store. We said no thank you on that one as we were concerned about pesticides and herbicides on the conventionally grown vegetables. Another example was crackers in small packages which would have been too much driving for two little return. You’ll have to weigh each opportunity.

  5. Brian, the 3/4 ton extended body van we have should do us well so I doubt we’ll be going for anything larger but thank you for the note. On the generator, it isn’t necessary. If I did go with that I would probably use the van engine / alternator for the power source with a couple of deep cycle marine batteries. Something I’ve thought of but haven’t found necessary, yet.

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