Bringing the harvest in

This week Liz and I have been getting ready for the winter share harvest tomorrow morning. I walk the one acre field at least once a day inspecting our vegetables. Together we redesigned our wash station. Today we planned what would go where: Should the bags of apples go over there? Or should they go over there? How about the boxes? The pre-bagged leafy greens, the apple cider? Where should the signs be placed? Do we have enough plastic grocery bags? (we don’t! donations are welcome!) Just in case you think we were completely focused on the first winter share, we weren’t. We did other things this week, too. Put in more cover crops, harvested the last summer CSA share, carried weeds that had gone to seed out of the field, attended a crop planning workshop at Waltham, ate lunch at the Tacqueria.

This got me to wondering what happens on other farms just before a big harvest. So I asked Jenny what the week before a winter share delivery looks like at Picadilly. Here’s what she wrote:

We started the ball rolling on Tuesday, harvesting carrots, beets, potatoes all day. Over a ton in all, lugged in in 25 pound 5 gallon buckets. Washed in the barrel washer, and cooled to 35 degrees by 5pm. Wed until Thursday mid morning, we’re busy with our regular CSA and Co-op harvests. Thursday late am, we sort through the already harvested and cured squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and onions in the greenhouse, to pick out what we’ll use for the shares. By a drizzly Thursday afternoon, we’re going full-force in the field, harvesting spinach, daikon and celery. Friday morning, we’ll harvest leeks, parsley, fennel and red peppers (the last pepper harvest of the season, as we’re expecting killing frost over the weekend). By early afternoon, we’ll be an assembly line of 5 folks, bagging and boxing. Between our two apprentices, Susie managed the Thursday harvest, and Kate will manage Friday – all while Jenny is busy getting out our other CSA and Co-op shares on the truck. Bruce will take charge of the packing on Friday afternoon. Antonio and Adelina, a married couple from Mexico with 3 children, fly through bagging roots, while pop music blares from a lousy radio in the backround. Bilingual jokes, demands for more crates of potatoes for the packers, not enough spinach. Antonio’s brother, Lucio, will go harvest “dos tombas mas”. We hope to finish 150 1 1/2 bushel boxes full before the crew signs out at 5pm. Jenny or Bruce will get up 12 hours later on Saturday, to load the truck and get out the door by 6:30 or so. We really do need to get some better lights out in the barn! The electrician was here scoping it out today, so we’ll be better prepared by the November share. He’ll also hook up our second “new” (to us) cooler, which we’ll promptly fill up and use as a root cellar for spuds and other roots. Harvest looks phenomenal, and we’re psyched to get rolling on the “extended season”!

We are all really looking forward to sharing the harvest with you!