DIY Walk-in Cooler for Small Farms

DIY Walk-in Cooler for Small Farms

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Walk-in coolers benefit small farmers by extending produce shelf life and maintaining quality for consumers. For example, Haydn Christensen at Bayberry Fresh grows cherry tomatoes during the summer and harvests about 10 crates each day at the height of the season. He only delivers a few times a week, however, and needs a space to keep the tomatoes fresh for delivery. A walk-in cooler allows him to do that.

A simple DIY walk-in cooler can store produce for the few days or hours that farmers need to bridge before getting produce to the consumer.

Since they are simple and cheap to build, walk-in coolers are one of the best options for small growers. Haydn showed us his recently built cooler to give us an idea of what it takes to build one.

If you have basic carpentry skills, you should be able to build the cooler yourself without a problem. Haydn used 2X4s for a frame and a double wall of 2” insulation panels. The door, he says, was the trickiest part of the process. The door needs to be snug to avoid air loss. He got some help on this part of the cooler.

To cool the 8X8’ room, Haydn used a simple 12K BTU window A/C unit that he already had. The unit goes down to 50º F, which is all he needs for his tomatoes. Other growers storing more needy crops should consider other options, however.


Timestamps / What’s Covered:

00:20 – Why Build A Cooler?
00:44 – How Difficult Is It To Build?
01:19 – How To Control Temperature In Your Cooler
02:24 – The Benefits Of Having A Cooler
03:11 – What Size Cooler Do You Need?


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What do you think?


Written by Aleksandar

Video MakerContent AuthorYears Of Membership


  1. anybody can do what ever in there hope.but less cost means less energy efficient. longer operation wasting
    more money than good energy efficient metatarsal cooler. good luck

  2. Add a CoolBot to your A/C and knock your harvest down to temp really quick. We've never looked back since buying ours ten years ago. Good job and good lucck!

  3. I don't think you can keep that thermal insulation board exposed and be code compliant. I believe it is combustible. I get it…small project, no big deal. For anyone wanting to build to code, however, probably have to cover with Fire code drywall.

  4. Great>>> The fridge in our apartment broke and we needed a replacement on a budget ASAP. We still use it to this day as my roommate and I are too busy to eat from home on most days so we don't keep much in there.

  5. It is also not hard to insulate the floor if you want to. You can buy foam board that is rate for floors (amount of weight you can place on it). Lay down the foam to cover the floor. Then buy plywood or fiberboard and run two layers one horizontally the other vertically and screw them together with screws just long enough to hook them together. Cover this with whatever you want for flooring.The foam will need protection where it is exposed on the side like at door ways. All in all this method works well to insulate a floor quickly.

  6. you can section off the larger space with moveable/temp barriers like refrigerated truckers do. this way you only have the ac cooling the section where you fill with product. this way you have the larger space when needed.


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