Mobile Quick Freeze Unit

Mobile Individual Quick Freeze (IQF) Transfer to Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) completed the transfer of its mobile quick freeze unit to the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center of Middlebury, Vermont on October 5, 2015. For more information about the unit, see below or view the press release

Background

In 2008, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets acquired one of the nation’s first mobile individual quick freeze (IQF) units with grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing. VAAFM organized construction of the IQF unit for the purpose of increasing sales opportunities for Vermont farmers and specialty food producers by expanding year-round availability of Vermont produce.

Originally valued at approximately $40,000, the unit sits inside an 8 x 18’ trailer and is designed to flash freeze berries—although it can also be used for other types of processed (blanched, chopped and/or bagged) or unprocessed (whole) produce. It can freeze up to 600 pounds of berries per hour and includes storage space for up to 800 pounds of frozen berries.

After its initial construction, VAAFM staff transported the unit for use on farms throughout Vermont, including Blueberry Ridge (North Troy), Cerridwen Farm at Green Mountain College (Poultney), Champlain Orchards (Shoreham), and Pete’s Greens (Craftsbury Center). From 2011 to 2013, the unit was leased to Green Mountain College (GMC), which partnered with Rutland Area Farm and Food Link and the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District to conduct a pilot study of the unit as a stationary resource paired with a commercial kitchen and develop best practices for its future use.

Best Practices 

While stationed within a mobile trailer, the IQF unit works best as a temporary/stationary unit paired with a commercial kitchen or processing space. The unit can serve as an opportunity for businesses to test the market for flash frozen products before scaling up to permanent infrastructure. For further detail, consult the resources below. 

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
These questions were generated during open houses hosted on June 8 & 11 in Montpelier. We answered these questions to the best of our ability given the information available to us at the time. 

Green Mountain College Pilot Report
Prepared by Garland Mason, Green Mountain College

Glean, Freeze, Give
Green Mountain College partnered with Almost Blue Productions to create this short documentary film on their gleaning and food rescue work using the mobile IQF.

Mobile IQF Unit Fact Sheets
Prepared by Melissa Moon, Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Operations Manual 
Prepared by Brian Norder, Vermont Food Venture Center

Request for Proposals
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture transferred the mobile quick freeze unit to the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center in 2015. VAAFM awarded the unit through a competitive review process informed by industry, nonprofit and government stakeholders.

 

Contact

Abbey Willard
Local Foods Administrator
(802) 272-2885
abbey.willard@vermont.gov

Kristina Sweet
Senior Agriculture Development Coordinator
(802) 522-7811
kristina.sweet@vermont.gov