Friday, January 10, 2014

Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer

Funded by the USDA, the Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is an innovative kitchen on wheels. The Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is located at Bradford Research Center in Columbia, MO and for a fee, growers can use the facility on-site to process their value-added items and turn excess summer produce into frozen fruits and vegetables.

Inside, the kitchen is equipped with a commercial blast freezer that can freeze 15 trays of raw or blanched fruits and vegetables in 30 minutes.  Growers can use the freezer to freeze everything from corn, green beans, and peppers to raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.  Because the freezer subjects the produce to temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the water inside the food freezes in a short period of time without forming large crystals, thus preventing damage to the cells, preventing freezer burn and preserving flavor and texture.  Growers with unsold fruits or vegetables can turn their extra produce into a frozen product that can be stored and sold to customers during the leaner fall and winter months.

The Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer is also outfitted with a three-section stainless steel sink, a 4-burner cooktop range, stainless steel countertops, a small chest freezer, a vacuum sealer, a ceiling air conditioner, a gas generator (for use when not connected to a 220 electric), and assorted kitchen supplies to assist with produce processing. 

Large farms that would like to utilize the Mobile Kitchen for more than a week can rent and transport the trailer to their farm.  All that is needed is a 220 electric hook-up, a water hydrant, and a ¾-1 ton truck with a gooseneck attachment to pull the trailer.

If you're interested in walking through the Mobile Kitchen and Freezer, it will be on display at the Ag Expo in Poplar Bluff on January 24-25 and at the Missouri Organic Association's Annual Conference in Springfield on February 6-8.

The Missouri Mobile Kitchen and Freezer will be available to rent starting in Summer 2014.  For more information, please contact Leslie Touzeau at 573-884-7945.


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