Sample Applications

Sample Application #1

Project Title: High Efficiency Vegetable Washer

Please provide a brief summary of your proposed project:
In our farm operation we harvest nearly 100,000 pounds of vegetables annually.  Currently, after harvest all produce is washed in simple rubbermaid tubs and is then packed by hand. We would like to purchase a new vegetable-washer/conveyor machine that would help us improve the quality and food safety of our produce wash-up and would also greatly increase our labor efficiency in wash-up.

The machine we are proposing to purchase is one recommended to us by peer farms, it is easy to sanitize, and it provides consistent and efficient cleaning of produce.
Explain why this project is critical to your farm and how this award will help you be more competitive in the marketplace.

Adding a vegetable-washer/conveyor to our operation would allow us to greatly increase our efficiency in the wash-up process and would also improve the overall quality of our produce.

For example, during an average lettuce harvest on our farm we harvest 30-bins of lettuce (20 heads each). In the wash-room, we dump out each bin into a tub of water, let it cool off, and then manually agitate it in the tub to clean.  Once cleaned, we pick up each lettuce head one-by-one and re-pack them into clean bins and then bring them to the walk-in cooler. 

With the vegetable-washer/conveyor we would be able to leave the heads of lettuce in the plastic bins that they were harvested into, and simply transfer the packed bins from the truck into the washer/conveyor.  With one-cycle through the washer/conveyor we would then be able to transfer the bins immediately to the walk-in cooler, saving several labor intensive steps and greatly reducing the handling of each head of lettuce.  In the washer/conveyor the produce would also always be washed with fresh water, rather than the recycled water in our current wash-up tub system.  (This is also a labor savings since we wouldn't have to spend time filling tubs.)

There are several benefits:

  • Labor savings of about 8 hours of work for each harvest. (about $60-100/harvest or $180-300/week).
  • Extra time for harvesting, weeding, and caring for our vegetables in the field.
  • Increase the quality, marketability and shelf-life of the produce by improved washing and quicker refrigeration.

Sample Application #2

Please provide a brief summary of your proposed project:

The Maple Vacuum Filler fills any size glass container by pulling vacuum onto the container which fills  with maple syrup, and purges all the air out at the same time.  You are able to bottle the syrup at 200 degrees without burning your hands and have zero spillage.  It fills even the special shape containers, which are prone to trapping air, enabling you to make the sanitary seal needed for a long shelf life. Once your container is full, the over flow is collected and returned back to the canning unit, eliminating messy and costly spillage, and time consuming cleanups.
Explain why this project is critical to your farm and how this award will help you be more competitive in the marketplace.

At this time, all of our maple syrup is only sold in plastic containers.  When syrup is marketed in glass, the consumer can see its true color which enhances their anticipated taste of the product.  We would like to expand our market into  party favors used at weddings, showers, and seasonal gatherings, with custom hang tags attached to the long necks of the glass maple leafs.  We feel that the added value achieved through this type of marketing  will more than double our income from syrup sold through this fashion.  The maple vacuum filler is designed to fill these types of containers very quickly and efficiently.  Presently   a gallon of our maple syrup sells for $50. We will be able to package over 50 small maple leaves per gallon, which will sell for $3 each.  The same amount of product should realize us approximately $150 of gross sales.  After subtracting the cost of the containers at $1.00 each, we will net about $100 for the same gallon of syrup.   We will also be able to put our maple syrup onto the shelves of local stores in a variety of new shapes and sizes with the option of custom designed labeling.