News from the Farm | August 28, 2023

August is the busiest month on the farm with a never-ending list of things to do. What was keeping us busy last week?

LOTS of harvesting, packing, sorting: 

It’s been nonstop, especially for our biggest crops of the summer: melons, tomatoes, and flowers. Our heirloom tomatoes are starting to slow down, but the heirloom harvesting crew still has been hard at work harvesting, and the work won’t be winding down for a while for the crews that harvest “regular” (Early Girls, Romas, and slicers) and cherry tomatoes. 

On Friday I joined the cherry tomato team for a few minutes. Each person harvests into a bucket that they have around their waist. Each bucket can hold enough cherry tomatoes to fill 12 pint baskets (one flat). Some varieties are loaded with fruit right now; you can almost fill a bucket without moving, though with some, you have to do a bit more hunting. Josefina (a fast picker) and me (a slower, less experienced one) filled her bucket with Rosita cherry tomatoes in just a few minutes. 

The flower crew is busy picking flowers for fresh bouquets and drying. The wreath room is packed full of flowers, hanging from the rafters and from drying racks, and last week was a big week for sunflowers.

Cleaning up:

On Monday, it rained! Not much (0.016 inches, but enough that it necessitated scurrying around to move around some supplies (mostly cardboard boxes and packaging) out of harms way.

The tractor drivers were cleaning up finished fields, pulling up drip tape. Some of the drip tape is on the surface and is relatively easy to pick up, but a lot is buried, meaning it first needs to be unearthed with the aid of a tractor, which digs a furrow and pulls it up. To wind up the drip tape, we take advantage of the hydraulics on a tractor to pull and wrap it on a large spool. 


This is a big reason why August is so busy; it’s a peak harvest period and we need to plant cool-season fall crops. We’ve been doing some planting over the past few weeks and will do a lot more over the next few so that when the summer crops wind down, we’ll have produce to harvest! Last week we transplanted kale chard, collards, leeks, and direct seeded all kinds of roots vegetables and leafy greens, like bok choi, spinach, mizuna, and arugula. Thanks to Isshin for the photos.

Now the challenge is to make sure the transplants don’t dry out and the seeds germinate and produce healthy plants, meaning paying close attention to irrigation and lots of short, frequent irrigation cycles. This can be a tall order during a very hot time of year, but the forecast for this week shows unseasonably cool weather, which will make the job a little easier for our irrigation team.

This is by no means a complete list – we’re also curing onions, prepping beds for planting, planning for Hoe’s Down, making tomato sauce and drying fruit, moving sheep between cover crop fields, prepping almond harvesting equipment, making deliveries, packing CSA boxes, making cardboard boxes, and so, so much more! But now you know a little bit of what we’ve been up to. 

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager