How we Built our Flower Cooler Trailer

One thing that flower farms need if they want to expand operations is a cooler. Flowers degrade QUICKLY if left in room temperature, and especially if in direct sun. Spring flowers especially like to be stored between 34-40 degrees for longest vase life. So, with all of that research, I knew I needed something larger than a garage fridge and dark closet!

I put an alert on craigslist so it would email me anytime someone listed an enclosed trailer around Grand Junction. I finally found one in December, and went down to Delta to meet the owner and purchase the 2005 6x12 enclosed trailer. The previous owner used it for Bon Apetit baked goods distributing, so they had it built out with shelves:

Those shelves were the first thing we took out. Wood within a cooler is just asking for mold and mildew problems. Then we also took off all of the plywood covering the walls.

The wood on the ceiling and floor are structural, so I painted those parts with sealing primer that includes mold & mildew resistance.

After the paint dried, we were able to add in structural posts for holding the insulation in the ceiling. We used 1x1 redwood posts cut to length along the ceiling, and same for the front - it has a slight curve, so this framing made it flat. The framing was also important for holding the window a/c unit and coolbot (how we are cooling the trailer in the first place!).

Once the framing was in, we added attic insulation to the top. I know many websites say not to use fiberglass insulation at all due to moisture, but two things we had working in our favor on the ceiling: 1. we had a roof vent & 2. we added a rigid insulation board with moisture barrier on the underside of the framing. This created a barrier from the cooler and ventilation from the roof, which is what you need for fiberglass.

Once the attic/ceiling insulation was in, it was time to install the air conditioning unit and coolbot. This was important because once the insulation is completely installed, altering the a/c set up would be close to impossible from the inside. whenever we need to replace the a/c unit (because it will happen eventually), we will do that from the outside of the trailer.

Justen has electrical contractor training, so he wired the whole setup below. Basically, he used an old end of an extension cord and exterior outlets so we can plug in the a/c, coolbot, and still have a spare outlet in case we need to power something else.

Then we went back to the insulation. The rest of the insulation was R-13 Rigid Foam Board insulation, which was 2" thick per piece. We used one piece on the ceiling (since we already had the fiberglass attic insulation up there), and two pieces on all walls, doors, and floor.

Once all the insulation was installed, we used HVAC tape to seal all of the cracks and some great stuff for the corners.

Then we tried using polywall (recycled shower board material) for covering the walls, but that was a bad. idea. It was not rigid enough in the slightest. SO - we peeled all of it off, and replaced it with white rigid plastic board (like a yard sign). much better.

For the floor, we covered it in Wonderboard (what you use in bathrooms instead of drywall), which I painted with the same sealer that I had used on the plywood.

Then we used white 4" gorilla Tape to seal all of the cracks, and to finish it off, I installed battery-powered LED puck lights on the ceiling.

WHEW! overall, it took two of us 5 days (my husband is a contractor) to get the trailer into working shape. Due to the varying cost of materials, I'm not going to list the price for every Item we purchased, but, overall, the used trailer cost $3000 and the Renovation cost $2500. This was all possible thanks to our wonderful customers who invested in us through their purchases at the GV christmas market in december 2021, 2022 bouquet subscriptions, and dahlia tuber sales.

I can't wait to use it and increase our capacity at markets and for local weddings!! Here's to a colorful 2022! ~Sydney

JUNE Update: The trailer cooler is working GREAT!!! It has allowed me to increase production and bring so much more to the farmer's market! I honestly cannot remember (nor do I want to) last season's non-cooler situation. haha. The transportability of it is great too! Only downside is there isn't a way to add secure shelving (YET), so it's just whatever can fit on the floor....which is around 20-24 buckets.

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