Ron and Diane Mikelson know what it takes to grow a great garden. They have been doing it for years. Diane loves the idea of knowing what goes into the food she eats, and that is a major motivating factor for her to continue her toil in their 4,500 square foot plot.
The growing season at their Coeur d’Alene, Idaho home is short, but always produces more than their family can eat. This is why last summer they purchased a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer. Their only regret: “Not getting it sooner.”
A few years ago Diane researched freeze dryers and found that they provide the best solution to preserve garden food, but she found them to be far too expensive. “I couldn’t find a new freeze dryer for under $18,000 and the ones I found were for scientific use and not for foods that would fit our needs,” Diane recalls.
She knew that freeze drying would be the best way to preserve her garden, but the price was just too high. That’s why, last summer, Diane decided to research freeze dryers, again, and learned that the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer is a fraction of the cost of other available units.
She purchased their freeze dryer the very next day. After waiting anxiously for it to arrive, Ron and Diane have used their freeze dryer every day since.
Ron is a design engineer by profession and has developed a way to maximize the output from their freeze dryer. He took a refrigerator-freezer and fashioned scrap plastic into shelves so that they can pre-freeze their garden produce and then put it directly into the freeze dryer.
After a few weeks of use, Ron and Diane had a system going where they could finish most batches of freeze dried food in 18-20 hours.
Diane says that “one of the first foods we freeze dried was organic blueberries, but since then we have preserved many other foods from the garden, like pears, apples, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, green beans, avocado, basil and even raspberry leaves for herbal tea.”
Beyond the garden, Diane has been freeze drying pinto and kidney beans, pearl barley, brown rice and chicken stock so that soups and other meals can be made almost instantly.
“I love knowing exactly what is going into my meal because there are no additives and preservatives,” she said. “I am more confident in the food that I have freeze dried than anything else in my storage.”
Because Ron is a design engineer he cares about the quality of equipment that he buys. He appreciates that his freeze dryer is American made and that it is built to last. He went on to explain that “lots of equipment these days isn’t built with high quality and breaks with a little use, but that isn’t the case with our freeze dryer. I am so pleased with the craftsmanship and find that most companies don’t build things this way anymore. We are happy to own such a quality machine.”
For Ron and Diane, purchasing a freeze dryer has been one of the best investments they have made. “In the past, so much of our garden has gone to waste,” said Diane. “Our only regret is waiting until August to get one!”