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Food Storage as Grandma Knew It

IN a strictly technical sense, Cynthia Worley is not transforming her basement into a time machine. Yet what's going on this harvest season beneath her Harlem brownstone on 122nd Street, at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, is surely something out of the past - or perhaps the future.

The space itself is nothing special: Whitewashed granite walls run the width and depth of the room, 16 feet by 60 feet. A forgotten owner tried to put in a cement floor, but the dirt, which takes a long-term view of things, is stubbornly coming back. "It's basically a sod floor," Ms. Worley said.

What's important is that the shelves are sturdy, because Ms. Worley and her husband, Haja Worley, will soon load them with 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of onions, 30 pounds of butternut and acorn squash, 10 heads of cabbage, 60-odd pints of home-canned tomatoes and preserves, 9 gallons of berry and fruit wines, and another gallon or two of mulberry vinegar.

The goodies in the pint jars and the carboys come from the Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Garden, which the Worleys founded across the street. The fresh produce is a huge final delivery from a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Orange County, which they used all summer. Packed in sand and stored at 55 degrees, the potatoes should keep at least until the New Year. The squash could still be palatable on Groundhog Day, and the onions should survive till spring. Ms. Worley, who counsels and teaches adults for the New York City Department of Education, and Mr. Worley, a neighborhood organizer and radio engineer, will let their basement-deprived friends store vegetables, too.

Full Story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/garden/06root.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=root%20cellars&st=cse&oref=slogin&oref=slogin