Harvesting salad greens
This morning started with a 6am alarm clock and a 6:40 accidental wake up time. This was different than normal. While usually we get up at the oh so lazy hour of 7am, on Tuesdays and Saturdays from now on we will be getting up at 6am (or the last possible minute to get dressed, eat, and get to work). On days like these it's good to get any amount of sleep possible because once we got to the barn we were loading the truck with wood baskets, laundry hampers, knives, and tools too take over to the 1st harvest crop: salad greens. We worked in pairs on opposite sides of the row and met in the middle, delicately slicing the petite leaves of red russian kale, mustard, and arugula. Polly, speedy as always, did nearly half the bed while the other four of us mowed down the rest. They call her The Pollinator for a reason. Within a half hour we filled 4 hampers, enough to fill 48 bags, but we weren't able to marvel in our feat for long, it was on to the next crop. As we were tossed and turned in the truck bed on the way up the hill, the fog held on to the tree tops and distant mountains. The gardens squished under our boots as we walked up and down the aisles trying to pick out the most worthy heads of lettuce and keep count of how many we'd picked- not such an easy task. 144 lettuces, 144 bok choys, lots of radishes, and a guestimated amount of green onions. The onions were tedious because once pulled up they needed to have the outer skin of the bulb peeled off. So after the madness of the previous picking we were all able to huddle around the onions pealing, stacking, and chit chatting.
It was then that we returned to the CSA barn and got down to business. Two CSA members showed up to work their required hours and deliver bags to the drop off sites. A part-time employee and excellent organizer, Kim, had us all whipped into shape washing, weighing, and bagging vegetables- and again counting. I need to work on that. It's no wonder the vast majority of members ask for half shares. In each was 3 heads of lettuce, 3 bok choys, a big bag of salad greens, a handful of radishes, and a hand full of scallions. Full shares got double of that. Better have a chicken coop full of children to get that finished. Still, it's good stuff so for those who like salad, it will be like heaven, especially after a long winter of grocery store lettuce. The great thing about working on the farm is getting the excess, and we started to eat them on the job. Radish snacks? Not quite peanut butter, but it'll do.
Produce a Plenty
And it was quiet again. After lunch it was down to three of us and with the impending rain we found things to do away from the gardens. The most essential but frustrating: learning how to drive manual transmission. To have a true, legitimate farm, it's required to have old beater trucks, many of which we have here, and because they are old they are stick shift. We both killed the trucks multiple times and gave everyone a good jolt but it was a crucial step in becoming more useful around here. We ended at 4pm as the rain made its way back to our mountain and later I took a shower as the rain fell just feet away. A bazaar, fantastic experience.
Wearing the hot pants
Rain since Friday and no sign of stopping for a few days. Just have to remember that we're going to miss this in July. Well, on to bed. It's almost 10:30! (How standards change)
I apprenticed on a farm in southwest Virginia from April-October 2010. This blog contains all the anecdotes and observations from that adventure.
See more of my photos here