BDN interviews Lilley for article on root cellars, storing produce

The Bangor Daily News spoke with Jason Lilley, a sustainable agricultural professional with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for the article, “Root cellars among the oldest, most reliable ways to store produce.” Among the oldest storage methods to keep food safely stored over winter is the root cellar, an underground room that acts like a natural refrigerator maintaining temperatures in the mid-30 degrees Farenheit during the winter and mid-50s in the summer, according to the article. “I would say that most people think of a root cellar as a thing you need to dig out or that has to be an external building dug into the side of a hill,” Lilley said. “That is really not the case for most crops.” Root cellar-type storage can be as elaborate as a separate, subterranean structure or as simple as a collection of rubber totes filled with peat moss, according to Lilley, who offered advice on how to create and maintain a root cellar. “Monitoring [the storage] is a huge component,” Lilley said. “You should check them every week and feel around to check for any spoiling produce. It is true, one bad apple can spoil a whole crop.” The article also cited a UMaine Extension bulletin that offers the recommended temperature and humidity storage conditions for just about every fruit or vegetable that grows in the state.