Harvest season is officially in full swing now at Rootdown. And while it has been pretty full on for a while, now, harvesting happens six days a week, which leaves very little time for other farming tasks!
Mondays are our biggest harvest days, as we harvest the majority of our crops for both our restaurant and grocery store customers, as well as for the CSA box program which goes out the following day. Luckily we have a crew of dedicated and hard working volunteers who come every Monday and work four hours on Mondays in exchange for a weekly box of veg. Still, even with their help we are usually hard pressed to get everything harvested, washed, and packed away by the end of the day.
Then on Tuesdays we harvest salad mix and other delicate, leafy salad greens, and wash and pack those for the CSA and orders. We have an hour or two on Tuesday afternoon once Simone or Sarah leave to do the deliveries in which to do some field work. It usually involves some frantic weeding.
On Thursday we repeat the Monday routine, adding more wholesale orders to the day but taking away the CSA and the volunteers, and then on Friday we repeat the Tuesday routine.
So that leaves Wednesday for us to get the rest of the farming tasks done. Wednesday is an immensely satisfying day. It’s not that I don’t like harvesting – I do like it, a lot. It is the time where you get to see the results of your labours in the field and harvest a beautiful and nourishing product to sell to grateful customers. Harvesting is, in fact, almost the epitome of why I love farming so much. It is when we, as farmers, get to feed people, which for me is one of the main motivators to farm and grow food in the first place.
However, I still love Wednesdays at Rootdown. It is when we get to catch up on all the weeding tasks that have been evading us for the rest of the week. Well, maybe not all, but the most pressing ones, anyway….we are only mere mortals, after all. We also get to other projects that need doing – pruning and trellising tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse, or moving the pigs to their new run as we did this Wednesday morning. It is also good for moral, as it makes us feel very productive and efficient, a little bit as though we were super-farmers. And everyone deserves to feel like a super-human from time to time.
Even Wednesdays are not wholly free from harvesting these days. We have to harvest beans on Wednesday, as they have to be picked often, every 3-4 days, in order to maintain good quality, and we also usually try to get a head start on our bulk root harvests for Thursday on Wednesday afternoon. Bulk root harvesting is fun and quick. Beans, not so much.
And, last but not least, Sarah has been harvesting salad mix for a special weekend order as well as zucchini (to keep the size down) on Saturdays.
However, I am not complaining – it is the harvest season, which, after all, is the whole point of farming, isn’t it? A busy harvest season means you have been successful, and achieved at least some of your goals as a farmer.