The Bluegrass Blog

Cold Cellar Part 1 – The Recovery Mission

Posted on October 1, 2014

The majority of our equipment that we have invested in to get off the ground is second hand. So far, it has been a lot of kijiji, craigslist, used Ottawa, auction sites, and a government surplus site. Over the past four years we have been slowly collecting tractors, tractor implements, and large pieces of infrastructure. One of our largest pieces of infrastructure is our cold cellar.

Cold Cellar - no smokingI found the cold cellar on a government surplus site. A library in Toronto was closing and auctioning off its equipment. One item in the library was a very large insulated temperature controlled room to store microfilm. It was known as the data shield. It was for sale through a government surplus site via a closed bidding process (i.e. you can’t see what others are bidding).

I called my cousin who works on walk-in coolers to get an idea of the bid price I should consider. As I was about to submit my bid into the blind bid process, I went cheap and considered lowering my bid by a few hundred dollars. My business partner and CFO talked some sense in to me and said “Is it worth paying a couple hundred dollars more to make sure you get it?”. I considered this logic and increased my bid price.

The clock struck 1 pm and the bid process was closed. We were in the middle of lunch when I was able to inform the family that we were proud new owners of a data shield.

The large stack of insulated panels fresh out of the moving truck I had seven days to pick up the beast. I measured the volume of the cold cellar and determined it would fit into a moving truck with 200 cubic feet to spare. I called up Uncle P. and we were off to Toronto to pick up the cold cellar.

Not sure what I had gotten ourselves into, the pile of 4” aluminum polyurethane insulated panels was a bit larger than what the photos depicted. Also, the heavy 4” galvanized floor panels were more than a two-person job. Luckily, there were a couple of dedicated public servants who begrudgingly lent us a hand.

A few hours later, we were fully loaded and barreling down the 401 narrowly  escaping the oncoming rush hour traffic. The cell phone rang and it was Leela  telling me that the library had noticed we had forgotten one piece of cold cellar. Since I was already on the east side of Toronto and moving at an alarming rate, I said “It’s too late…there’s no turning back now!”

I was still dying to know about my bid price. Had I paid way too much for these sandwiched layers of insulation and metal? Could I have bid $1 for all of this material now deemed surplus? Well, it turns out, a few days later I received an email from the government surplus site. Someone else who had bid on the cold cellar, had lost the bid and was interested in buying the cold cellar from me. It turns out they had bid only a couple hundred dollars less than my bid. And that it why I always listen to our Bluegrass Farm CFO!Cold Cellar roof on - almost

In the end, we were able to find a great cold cellar to meet our needs. Even more amazing is how it just barely fits between the support logs in the barn. I guess it was just meant to be a farm cold cellar!

Stay tuned for another post about our construction process and plans for this very large cold cellar.