Filling the community root cellar

Now that the root cellar is built and the temperature has dropped, it’s time to buy vegetables for the root cellar!

We – the five Ecology Action Centre (EAC) root cellar members and I – got together to figure out what and how much we’d need for the winter and we put in an order with a local farmer.

In case I haven’t explained this before, the EAC root cellar is a community root cellar.  We invited staff, board members, and food action committee volunteers to enter their names in a lottery for a spot in the cellar.  In the end,  5 people took us up on the offer and all 5 got a spot.  Everyone is responsible for taking care of the root cellar.  This means coming in regularly to check on the temperature and humidity, removing any moldy vegetables, and generally keeping things running.

As a group, we attempted to figure out how much each of us would eat over the winter.  We based our estimate on 18-20 weeks (early December to late March).  Everyone has different needs and likes.  Some people are single, some are in a couple, some cook with their roommates, some can’t eat wheat and thus eat more potatoes – you get the picture.

In the end we ordered: onions, squash, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, parsnips, and two different varieties of apples.

Have you ever wondered what $520 can buy you?

Plus all of this!

It was pretty exciting!

But, let me break down the order a bit for you so that you could start to calculate that you’d need to get through the winter.

This was our total order (for 6 of us, plus respective partners and roommates):

200 lbs Potatoes
55 lbs Sweet Potatoes
55 lbs Onions
34 Squash
97 lbs Carrots
18 heads Cabbage
34 lbs Parsnips
53 lbs Apples – Spy
31 lbs Apples – Gala
61 lbs Beets

Total = $521.

And in case you’re interested in what one person’s order might look like, this was my portion of the order:

40 lbs Potatoes
25 lbs Sweet Potatoes
15 lbs Onions
8 Squash
20 lbs Carrots
4 heads Cabbage
12 lbs Parsnips
10 lbs Apples – Spy
10 lbs Apples – Gala
15 lbs Beets

= $150.55

I am sharing the veggies with my partner.  We love to cook, and regularly invite other people for dinner.  I have no idea is this will be sufficient root vegetables to get us through the winter, but I’ll report back regularly.  (To be clear, I got in on this veggies order, but I’m storing mine at home.  More about that later.)

Sorting carrots

So, here we are, setting up our cellar for the winter.  Everyone took their onions, squash and sweet potatoes home to store in a cool, dry location.  Meanwhile, the potatoes, apples, beets, parsnips, and carrots are staying here.  Each person’s vegetables are stored separately, in labeled containers.

This year is an experiment of sorts.  Everyone will be taking notes on how their root cellaring is going. I’m really curious to know things like:

-When did you run out of carrots (potatoes, squash, etc.)?  Did they run out early?  Did they run out because you ate them all, or because they went bad, or because they started to go soft and you cooked them all up in a giant soup?

Check back for regular updates on the cellar.  We’ll be reporting regularly.

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One thought on “Filling the community root cellar

  1. Pingback: Root Cellar Year 1 Debrief « Adventures in Local Food

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