Sun drying in CA
Bill Blake (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 15:19:31 -0700 (PDT)
Betty Gras mentions sun-drying raisins in CA's Central Valley. This
shows how good the summer climate is here for sun-drying. However, I
looked into the legalities of sun-drying a couple of months ago, and
discovered that small-scale farmers would have a difficult time complying
with the laws. First, after talking with people at several county and
state agencies as well as producers and an industry group, I couldn't get a
straight-forward answer about what a producer would need to do to be in
full legal compliance. Second, the answers I got from health
commissioners and the like indicated that producers would need a
concrete-floored drying yard (no dust) with a fence (no animals), methods
for insect exclusion (no bugs, eggs, etc.) and a certified kitchen for
cutting fruits and vegetables for drying.
Raisins can be placed in the rows on paper because the skins are not cut
or punctured. This won't work for tomatoes, prunes, etc.
I know there are producers who sun-dry in the open, but I didn't find out
how they do it legally or why no-one in the health department has picked
up on it yet. Any answers out there?
Also, a note about solar dryers. A class I took a couple of years ago
tried a few different designs and found that open-air drying worked
better than some of the enclosed dryers. That may be peculiar to CA's
Central Valley, however.