Member Directory   Members Only   Membership   Contact Us   Recipes   News & Events   
  News & Events
Events
News

Device could save Vermont’s food producers thousands annually

March 1, 2018

Vermont Business Magazine

A University of Vermont Extension professor has invented a $300 device that could save Vermont’s produce growers an average of $6,500 annually in improved storage conditions and its artisanal cheese and meat producers up to $10,000 a year in higher yields during processing. The device, called a DewRight, modernizes 200-year old technology to more accurately measure temperature and relative humidity.

The savings come from reduced spoilage and increased yield, increased quality, improved recipe repeatability and labor savings, said its inventor, Chris Callahan, an assistant professor of agricultural engineering at UVM Extension.

In the high humidity environment of a storage room, off-the-shelf equipment that is now used can be off by as much as plus-or-minus 6 percent relative humidity, Callahan said. The new device reduces that to plus-or-minus 2 percent relative humidity, a 67 percent improvement. 

Unlike off-the-shelf versions, it also functions accurately at lower temperatures that food storage and processing facilities often require and does not fail in the continuous high humidity environment, as conventional versions do over time.

The device makes use of “wet bulb” psychrometry, where an ordinary thermometer and one that is enclosed by a wet wick are spun in the air by the user. The difference in temperature between the two – the wet one will show a lower temperature as the evaporating water cools it – indicates the amount of moisture in the air, its relative humidity.

Callahan’s innovation was to make an electronic version of the mechanical device with improved accuracy in temperature measurement. The DewRight also automates the measurements, removing human error.

An earlier, on-farm research project of Callahan’s – a experimental system that allowed farmers to remotely monitor temperature and relative humidity in storage facilities – led Callahan to the need to better measure relative humidity.

“The monitoring and communication electronics in that application did what they were supposed to do, but we were using off-the-shelf sensors to measure relative humidity. They weren’t accurate and eventually failed completely in the high humidity, low temperature conditions,” he said.

The new technology could also have application for other fields where measuring relative humidity accurately is important, in art museums and conservation spaces for examples, or in semiconductor manufacturing.

For now, though, Callahan said he plans to focus on growers and artisanal food producers.

“This is a market we know, and the space we know that has an immediate need,” he said.

Callahan is optimistic that the product will find success. His analysis also shows both strong and sustained growth of cold storage space for produce in the region and nation (by at least 25 percent per year for both) and increasing production of artisanal products – both of which require careful control of temperature and humidity.

“There is pent-up demand for a device like this,” he said.

The new technology has been licensed and is being commercially developed, with assistance from UVM Ventures and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, by Vermont Energy Control Systems of North Ferrisburgh, Vt, which has added monitoring, data logging, and control technology to Callahan’s device that will automate operation and allow remote access.

“Right now, there is no cost-effective solution for small farms and artisanal cheese producers who need to accurately measure temperature and humidity in their storage and production facilities,” said Bill Kuhns, director of product development at Vermont Energy Control Systems. “We’re very enthusiastic about this new product. It's a natural fit with our existing data logging and control products. There's an international need for this capability, especially for the smaller operations that the farm-to-table movement is supporting.”

About UVM Extension

UVM Extension integrates higher education, research and outreach to help Vermonters put knowledge to work in their families and homes, farms and businesses, towns and the natural environment. Faculty and staff, located in offices around the state (link is external), help improve the quality of life of Vermonters through research-based educational programs and practical information.

About Vermont Energy Control Systems

Vermont Energy Control Systems LLC (link is external) designs and builds energy management systems in Addison county, Vermont. The company uses local resources for its sheet metal work, printing, and other subcontract work. Its circuit boards are designed and built in the United States.



Vermont Smoke & Cure Introduces New Grass-Fed Beef Sticks

VSFA Welcomes New Members

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates moving to Colchester, doubling in size

The 25 Most Important Cheeses in America, According to Cheese Experts

Vermont Specialty Food Producers Take Home Gold at Annual sofi Awards

Taste of Vermont goes to Washington

New Grant Opportunity for Associations that Promote Vermont Agriculture, Food, Beverage, Forest, and Fiber Products

Vermont’s maple syrup business is booming, thanks to technology and changing tastes

Some small food retailers find less importance in groceries

Who roasts your coffee? Five Vermont roasters spill the beans on what they do

SAP! Beverages finalist at Rabobank’s FoodBytes! Montreal pitch

USDA Renewed 17 Substances on National List for Organic Production

Fat Toad Farm named SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year

Grants to help Vermont farms improve produce safety

Vermont Producers and Value-Chain Facilitators Receive $50K to Support Local Food Market Development

Vermont Creamery Adds to Its Expanding Retail Goat Cheese Collection

Device could save Vermont’s food producers thousands annually

Annette Rexroad, co-founder of Road Crew Clusters, to lead the Food & Beverage session of the Center for Women & Enterprise Vermont’s inaugural Power Forward! Accelerator Prog

It's Tortilla Tuesday in the Test Kitchen

14 Reasons Why We Love Vermont Farmers

7th Local Specialty Crop & Local Food Trade Shows on Monday, March 5, 2018 Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Andy's Dandys: A recipe for success

Fat Toad Farm wins 2018 Good Food Award

Announcing ACORN Workshop on Working with Distributors

Specialty food going 'up and up and up,' says Mintel

Fledgling wine grape industry looks to protect Vermont vines

Good Food Foundation’s 2018 Good Food Awards and Mercantile Celebrate Excellence in Taste, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility

Agriculture Agency Events at The Vermont Farm Show

Supplier Relationships Key to Pricing, Assortment Strategies

Vermont Sugarmakers Reflect on New Challenges

Pints of Passion: Gelato Company Scoops Out Quality Flavors

Announcing the Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program 2018 Request for Proposals!

Localvore expansion to MA and ME is growth model for job creation in VT

Report: Workforce development critical to sustain local food economy

Special thanks to Vermont dairy farmers on National Milk Day

Wonkblog Organic food fraud leads Congress to weigh bill doubling USDA oversight

Gut Health Tops Nutrition Trends for 2018

Up to $60,000 available through Local Food Market Development Grant program

Bennington distiller adds partners

Vermont’s workforce dilemma

MORE THAN 164 MILLION CONSUMERS PLAN TO SHOP OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND AND CYBER MONDAY

Famous Vt. Baking Brand Sees Growth, Thanks in Part to Retail Giant

10 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RECRUITING, HIRING AND RETAINING MILITARY VETERANS

2018 Good Food Awards Finalists

Specialty Food Category Forecasts

SFA's Trendspotters' Top Trends for 2018

Policy and Communications Director Named at Agriculture

Produce Safety Improvement Grant Program Accepting Applications on November 15

Vermont Village Introduces Apple Cider Drinking Vinegars

FDA publishes more menu labeling guidance

ACORN Producers and Buyers Forum: Conversations Across the Local Food Spectrum

Cabot Creamery chooses FirstLight for data services

Workforce development, business succession plans required for food industry growth

Ag Agency Accepts Applications for Trade Show Assistance Grants

Amazon has slashed seller fees to try to improve its grocery selection online

At Neighborly Farms, Producing Cheddar Is a Family Affair

Community Capital of Vermont receives $1 million for microloans

Gov. Scott Celebrates Vermont’s Farm To School Grant Program With Students

Amazon's Stealth Takeover of Vermont

Vermont Agency of Agriculture Announces $1M in Grant Funding for Farm Capital Equipment Assistance Program

H Kenneth Merritt, Jr selected as ‘Super Lawyer’ for 5th Time

VERMONT AGENCY OF COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT RECEIVES $325,600 GRANT FOR SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTING

New England Super Lawyers recognizes seven PF+C Attorneys

Vermont businesses generate over $1.8M in total sales at The Big E

Working Lands Financing Conference

What Section 179 Expensing Means for Your Business

Scott signs proclamation designating October as Employee Ownership Month

Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces $750,000 in Available Investments To Help Grow Vermont’s Economy

Vermont Artisan Coffee moves, opens coffee bar to rave reviews

2017-2018 Windham Region CEDS Update

Vt. Governor Proclaims October Farm to School Month, New Grant Opportunities Released

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Announces Over $1M in Available Grant Funds

New Improvements to State Building Help Showcase Vermont Tradition and Emerging High-Quality Agricultural Products

Apple Season Has Arrived in Vermont – Get Picking!

From Wallflower to Expert Networker

Rooted in Vermont: Uniting all Vermonters around Local Food

Vermont Products Win Big at the 2017 Fancy Food Show

Job Opening: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Project Manager

Fuel Your Passion with Lake Champlain Chocolates’ Fifth Limited-Edition Bar for 2017 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Cabot receives 2017 Tourism Partner of the Year

2017 sofi Awards Winners

City Market, Onion River Co-op Celebrates Earth Week

Craftsbury Farmers' Market Looking for Vendors

2nd Annual Green Mountain Fair at Manchester seeking Vendors

Maple Syrup Never Tasted So Good

Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Makes the Big Move!

City Market Awards Co-Op Patronage Seedling Grants to 8 Local Non -Profits

Cabot Sets World Record for Largest Smoothie!

Vermont Fresh Pasta Celebrating 25 years!

Gringo Jack’s Flaky Chips Verified Non-GMO

Lake Champlain Chocolates to Host New Organic Bar Tastings

Lake Champlain Chocolates Debuts 4 New Organic Bars at Specialty Foods Winter Fancy Food Show

Castleton Crackers Debuts Colorful and Compact New Packaging

Runamok makes Oprah's Favorite Things List

Japanese consumers rave over Vermont products

2017 GOOD FOOD AWARDS FINALISTS

Vermont Creamery's Non-GMO Cheese Hits the Market

Lake Champlain Chocolates achieves SQF Level 2 Certification

A Tour of Vermont Tortilla Company

Blake Hill opens Windsor plant

Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces $650,000 in Available Grant Funds and Two Innovative New Loan Programs

Lake Champlain Chocolates + Silo Distillery = A match made in heaven

Maple Syrup Breaks Away From Breakfast

US Chocolate Market to Reach $30B

 
Member Directory    |    Membership    |    Site Map    |    Recipes    |    Contact Us    |    Home
The official web site of the Vermont Specialty Food Association
148 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802.839.1930 Email: info@vermontspecialtyfoods.org
©2015 Vermont Specialty Food Association. All rights reserved.

Designed & CMS by Cambium Group, LLC