It’s Root Cellar Season – David Hammond’s Root Cellar Diaries

October 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Could you keep a root cellar in your basement?

Future Root Cellar

Future Root Cellar

A few years ago, food writer and Local Beet contributor, David Hammond, decided to put a root cellar in his suburban home.

The Cellar Getting Filled

The Cellar Getting Filled

Inspired from some thing he saw on a farm as well as things he read about on the Local Beet, Hammond decided to expand his ability to eat local in the winter by keeping his own root cellar.  He had the ideal space in his basement, an old dark-room.  The room met the three primary needs of a root cellar: cold, dark, and wet.  Hammond decided to keep a diary of his nascent cellar and share it with Local Beet readers.  Of course, as we read along, we found out that a working cellar often has a fourth need, a good mouser.

When last winter approached, Hammond decided the best use of his root cellar was as a place to keep wine.  We don’t want that to stop you.  So, check out the time when Hammond was a root cellarist.

The Root Cellar Diaries by David Hammond

Returning to his roots, Hammond builds his cellar.

So it begins, putting the first bits away.

Getting down to basics, finding supplies in likely places?

Filling up.

Opening of the eyes, the first month of root cellar use.

We have seen the enemy, an unanticipated problem down there.

Survival of the fittest, help from a family friend.

How I would die on the prairie, in which we first notice rotting food.

Things go rotten.

And David wraps up a first season as a root cellar-ist.

Yet, finds use in the summer.

Filling up for a second season.

David Hammond talks about food every Wednesday in the Wednesday Journal and regularly on and WBEZ, 91.5FM.  On the Dining blog at and on VOP-TV, he presents a monthly feature called “You Really Should Eat This.”  You can also find him often on LTHForum, a food site he helped found and where he still works diligently as a Lead Moderator.