The following is some shared wisdom by Hanne Tierney, of Cornerstone Farm and former MFFM Board member, on the best practices to keep meat frozen at market.
- Buy the most expensive cooler you can afford.
- Add additional insulation to all sides of cooler ( like a tinfoil bubble wrap that people buy to insulate hot water heaters) make sure to include the bottom heat rises cold sinks (don’t let it out the bottom of the cooler).
- Pack your meat as tightly and as well organized as possible so the farmer can quickly access desired meat and minimize time that the coolers are open.
- Never use ice packs or literal ice as the freezing temp of these is dramatically higher than your meat and will actually cause your meat to thaw.
- If possible pack your meat cooler the night before and lower them into a freezer or place in a walk in freezer so there isn’t any warming during the packing process.
- Have a memorized description of your meat, how thick approximate units per package, approximate leanness to minimize the frequency you need to remove and replace meat to and from cooler.
- Do not place coolers on pavement as this will warm the bottom of your cooler during the heat of the season.
- When consolidating meat, do it only once per market to ensure minimal heating of product and then add the additional insulation from now empty cooler to fill any extra space.