Donning rainboots, and geared up with clean, sharpened, harvesting knives…the farm crew and apprentices headed-out at 7am on Thursday, May 26th, to begin our first harvest and CSA distribution day. The slight breeze reminded us of Spring weather (unlike the summer temperatures we’ve been experiencing). For some, it was the first time harvesting and for others it was re-learning how to hold the knife, figuring out the system of counting rubber-bands, or knowing which turnip to pull out of the ground. But for everyone, working together to get it all done was impressive. Throughout the year, we’ll have to “pre-harvest” a day before simply because there is not enough time to finish everything in one day, but for this first harvest we decided the farm crew could handle it. And we did. All, except the salad mix. (which I forgot to remove from the newsletter after deciding we ran out of time!). Although the weather threatened “severe thunderstorms” we managed to get through the day with only a drizzle here and there and a short sprinkle at distribution. We were pleased at the bounty that even a wet Spring can produce.
And what a bounty CSA Week #2 produced! We had 11 items in the CSA share this past week, and more to come next week. With this 90-degree temperatures, things are coming out of the field faster than we had expected. Because of the heat, we were harvesting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get things out of the field and into coolers so it could be ready for Thursday distribution. The Broccoli, Lettuce, and Arugula were showing signs of “bolting” or ‘going to seed’, as they are cooler-weather crops and are especially prone to quick life-cycles in this heat and so we began harvesting on Tuesday to catch them before they bolted. And, the salad mix (left behind last week) held on for one more week and produced a colorful, bountiful mix for week #2.
After all that harvesting, the washing begins. Washing is often the more time-consuming and tedious task, requiring specific methods for each crop. For most greens we use two separate wash-bins: one for “washing” and one for “rinsing”. And for root crops, we blast them clean with a hose. If we have loose greens (like spinach, salad mix, or loose arugula) we’ll then bag according to weight.
Once everything is harvested and washed (and we sit down to enjoy a meal prepared by a rotating few members of the farm crew) we load up the CSA delivery van and head to campus where we get to share the farm’s harvest with our CSA members! The satisfaction in providing farm-fresh, weekly vegetables to so many families is what keeps us going…and the season is just getting started!