Eco Cold trailer promises rapid refrigeration
Imagine a farmer out in the field, the sun beating down mercilessly as he gathers his crops. As he harvests and loads them for transport, the sun continues to shine, and lingering field heat starts to slowly lower the quality of his carrots, corn, potatoes and other vulnerable veggies. Particularly if he is transferring the crops over a large distance, he’s going to need to take some proactive measures to mitigate that field heat and prolong the freshness of the results of his labor.
If he’s a farmer in Franklin, Marion or Winston counties, he can now make that easier with the Eco Cold Storage Trailer.
Northwest Alabama Resource, Conservation & Development Council recently received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to retrofit two cargo trailers as Eco Cold Storage Trailers – which are now available for use in Franklin, Marion and Winston counties.
“The students at the Colbert County High School Ag Department went in and insulated them, put the pebble board up, installed the metal and installed the air conditioner, and we ordered the CoolBot technology,” explained Northwest AL RC&D executive director Lauranne James. “It tricks the air conditioner into going down to 40 degrees, which is refrigeration temperature.”
The trailer can be plugged in and run off electricity but also comes equipped with a generator. It is available by loan to anyone in the three-county area. Although it will be particularly beneficial for farmers, it is free to anyone to use and could fill a variety of potential applications.
“If there is an emergency situation, like a tornado or a disaster, and electricity goes out – you’ve got a refrigerated trailer, and you can transport whatever you need to transport,” James said. Local food pantries can also make use of it, like a pantry in Double Springs that is already using one. “They travel to Birmingham and pick up food to distribute in the county, and they can bring back refrigerated food now.”
The trailer weighs about 1,900 pounds, not counting the weight of whatever might be loaded on it, so people interested in borrowing it should be prepared to haul it with a truck with a ball hitch.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful asset to the surrounding communities,” said Franklin County Cooperative Extension Director Katernia Cole-Coffey. “It’s going to help a lot of farmers … It’s going to be very beneficial.”
A $100 refundable deposit is required. For more information or to borrow a trailer, call 256-332-8880. The trailers are available Monday through Saturday.