Monday, June 08, 2009


Our shareholders arrived today for their first pickup. Actually, we have over 500 shareholders, and so the pickup days are staggered so that we don’t get overwhelmed (or run out of food) on any one day. It was busy! They started arriving in the early afternoon, often with children in tow. I was out in the fields seeding soybeans, greenbeans, sunflowers, lettuce mix and arugula so I didn’t interact with them too much, but our 'pick your own' fields were full of mothers and children (and a few others) ransacking the strawberries and the sugar snap peas. There’s plenty to go around, though. I think, being somewhat inexperienced at all of this, I tend to get a little anxious about running out of food watching all these people fill their bags up with greens and pack their pint containers full of strawberries. Really, though, we’ve planned very consistently for a considerable amount of extra for most crops, at least for while they are in season. The crop beds are very long, and most people never even get close to the far end of them while picking. So there should be plenty of strawberries left for me.

We spent the morning harvesting a bunch of vegetable, many of them for the first time. We grabbed more of the easter egg radishes, salad turnips, spinach, bok choy, arugula, braising mix (greens), red Russian kale and heads of lettuce. This will be the bulk of our mornings for the foreseeable future, I think, though of course we still have plenty of transplanting, greenhouse work, seeding, plowing, mulching and, of course, weeding, but we'll have to get a lot of that done in the afternoons now.

In the afternoon I was seeding with Theresa, and things were a bit difficult, largely due to things beyond our control, but also due a bit to some less than stellar preparation and a couple of minor mistakes. First off, the tractor wouldn’t start, so we went to get a charger and got it started. Next, we ran out of the soybean variety (and edamame type) we were seeding about a third of the way down the bed, and had to waste time running back up to get another variety. Same thing happened with the green beans we seeded; the packages we had just wouldn’t fill an entire bed, so we had to stop and fill up the rest of the beds with the standard variety that we had plenty of. So maybe not quite as much of the 'royal burgundy' bean as we would like, but we’ll probably have plenty anyway. Then, trying to get the tractor back up after a short hiatus, it wouldn’t start up again. We probably just should have kept it running while we did the switchouts for the seeds and seeding plates, but it’s so obnoxious. I wonder, though, if the battery is nearing its end; it really should have gotten a pretty good charge. Anyway, we went back up to the barn to get the battery out of the other G tractor and put it in the seeding G we were using. Back in business, until a metal implement that makes the furrow ahead of dropping the seed broke in two, so…back up to the barn to get another replacement part. Finally, I mistakenly set the plate hole much too large for the lettuce we were seeding, and it pretty much poured out in a thick stream until I noticed the problem and set it straight. I felt like we were the bad news bears or something.

I think in farming (and many other jobs or activities that deal with a wide variety of circumstances and pieces of equipment) you just have to expect days like this. A little aggravating to be sure, but it was nice to see all the families sporting about and enjoying all the food that we have worked very hard to get going for them. And it doesn’t hurt that at the end of the day I was able to wander through the shareroom and grab a beautiful head of lettuce, some radishes and some spicy greens to round out my dinner.


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