News From the Farm | July 23, 2018

The consistently triple digit temperatures for the last two weeks have been stressful for our crews who know that every day counts in terms of getting fruit out of the field in good shape.  If we miss a day of picking, the quality can go downhill, but a lot of these afternoons are just too hot to pick in.  Some of the fields are not only hot, but also very humid because the lines of plants are close together and the plants are transpiring continuously. 

This is our full-on harvest season, with each day a “big” day, so that almost first thing in the morning, planned and necessary projects are triaged in order to get the orders filled. Tremendous quantities of beautiful fruits and vegetables are picked every day from very hot fields.  Then they are brought into our packing shed, cooled down and boxed up for stores, restaurants, wholesale distributors and of course our CSA members.

In the packing shed, an almost constant activity is constructing the boxes that we use for store orders.  In these photos, melon and cherry tomato boxes are put together and stacked up ready to be filled.

These cherry tomato plants are still young, and a lot of the fruit is close to the ground.  The pickers sit next to the plants and strip off only the ripe fruit — a skilled job that not everyone can do well.  If you walk across the field from the end of the rows, you might not know they were at work except for the occasional conversations drifting through the vines.

Because it is hard to find enough farm labor during our busy months, we have been thinking a lot about machinery that can make the labor that we DO have, as efficient as possible.  This photo shows our new set-up that reduces the need to carry boxes of just picked produce out off the field.  It is on the edge of our eggplant field — the crew is preparing to pick globe eggplant.  The line extends across several rows and a tractor driver can move the line as the crew picks.

The only things staying cool on the farm are those chickens!