Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pick and Pack

July brings more predictable days to us Village Farmers. The crops grow. The weeds grow. The "chickens need feedin'" as our dear friend, Grace, likes to say. The seedlings are all sold for the year. The CSA is in full swing, of course, so we gather the week's share early Tuesday mornings, wash and pack and cool them and then bring them to members Tuesday evenings. A larger portion of our vegetables go to wholesale accounts: The Belfast Coop, Swan's Way Catering, Trillium Events and of course, our new neighbor, The Lost Kitchen, among others. Still more vegetables go through our beloved distributor, Crown O' Maine, and make their way to many fine stores and restaurants to the south of us.

Now that all the large spring plantings are completed, we settle in to something of a daily and weekly rhythm. In the early mornings a few people do animal chores and a few people begin harvesting. We break for breakfast then all return to the fields for more harvesting. Prentice bikes around a lot to check on things. I tend to walk. We move vegetables from field to packing shed with this Jeep and a human powered cart.

Once in the packing shed, vegetables either go to a wet pack line or the dry pack counter. You can see a couple of ubiquitous clipboards there on the dry pack counter. The clipboards keep our pick lists handy, accessible to all as we wash and pack and check off the day's harvest. The pick lists tally each wholesale customer's order for the day. Those white mesh bags hold herb bunches and loose greens in our repurposed washing machine turned greens spinner.

You never know who will stop by the pack shed. This place is a hub of activity and always needs a good foremonkey. Or is it foregorilla?

This is the northside shed which is most definitely a wet pack line. Ally and Amelia are working through 150 or so bunches of scallions. We soak, separate, strip bottom leaves and stack. Lots of fast hand work. Then the scallions get bunched, trimmed and put through a final spray down before being packed.

 Max is working through a gaggle of beet bunches.
 Sparkly vegetables is what we like to see!
Just as ubiquitous as the clipboards are the blue rubberbands. But more numerous!!  We have barely made a dent in the bale of blue rubberbands we bought two years ago. I guess we are stocked for the next decade. Not that you are interested in the rubberband inventory, but I will keep you posted.

Our first batch of meat chickens return from the butcher's this week. Come by and get one for the grill this weekend! We will have fresh chickens available Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8 am to 5 pm. Raised on pasture and organic grain, these birds are delicious and nutritious. $4.75/pound and most birds are around 5 pounds.

As always, we appreciate your interest in our farm business. Take care and enjoy these mid-summer days.
Fondly, Polly and co.