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A short workshop on root cellars piqued the interest of ten local people Saturday, May 13th in order to learn and share the basics of this old and energy-efficient food storage method.
Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT) sponsored the workshop, as part of its monthly rural skills series, starting with a brief overview at Dexter’s Abbot Memorial Library then carpooling to examples of cellars in Cambridge and Harmony.
A root cellar can be very simple or quite complex, but basically it’s some sort of compartment that is well drained, properly ventilated, adequately insulated by the earth, protected from pests, and dark.

Carol Gardner of Cambridge explains how her 7 by 15 foot root cellar helps store garden produce and other food to participants during the workshop on root cellars held on Saturday, May 13th.

The workshop participants, from Norridgewock, Dexter, Sangerville, Cambridge, Medford, and Harmony, shared successes and failures in food storage attempts. Root crops (such as carrots and potatoes) need different humidity and temperature levels than other vegetables (such as squash or onions). Fruits like apples and pears give off ethylene gas as they age, which can adversely affect potatoes if ventilation is not good.
Cellars are a good cool place to store canned goods but caution should be taken to account for possible rusting of lids because of higher humidity. Frequent inspection of stored foods was stressed, to find, remove and eat any that are “going by”.
The Saturday, June 10th workshop will focus on Small Scale Haymaking with hand tools. DDATT’s mission is to help the area reduce the use of fossil fuels and create a more stable rural economy. For more information on DDATT and future events, email to get on email news list, or contadt 277-4221 or 924-3836.