Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Farming In Fall

Wednesday nights are our CSA delivery in Greeley. About 4 weeks ago, I started working for 4 hours in the middle of every Monday, Wednedsay, and Friday, and that complicated the Wednesday night drop quite a bit.

Those first few weeks were crazy. I mean, like, I can't actually believe we pulled them off kind of crazy. But then the flower shares ended. And the field started to be a bit less abundant. And yesterday, for the first time, I was able to get the entire harvest in by myself before the kids got home from school. Not only that, but since I harvested some of the largest cauliflower heads we've ever grown, I got to make some cauliflower gratin for dinner to confirm that even though they were gigantic, they were also delicious. They were. And the head I chose to use made about 7 cups of chopped cauliflower all on its own. Often, I am delivering vegetables that I haven't tasted at all due to the amount of time spent harvesting and getting them out to others, and it's a real treat when that is not the case.

So this morning was very calm. The pre-pack shares are sorted and in the cooler, and the chalk board is finished, and everything is set and ready so that when I return home, it will be quite easy to load the truck and go.

This is how we run the CSA drop every week. I have crates of veggies, and the customers come through and "shop" through them according to the size share they have. We've tried pre-packing all shares in previous years, but have settled on this as the best way to deliver the produce. One, it is much simpler for us, since the sorting phase can take a long time when you have 35 (or more) shares going out. Also, I do think it's better for the customer, as they can pick the tomatoes or whatever that they like the best, and also, if they don't want, say, eggplant, they can just leave it in the bin and we can send it over to the food bank or give it to another customer who loves eggplant. It's working out.

I wish we could find a way to solve our labor problem so that the pace of high season could get a bit closer to the pace of fall season. This week felt manageable, which is so rarely an adjective that I can use to describe a day during farm season. There was work. . .digging, bending, hefting crates of melons around, irrigation monitoring. . .the work itself is not at all the problem, really. It's more that most days during the season  I wake up to something that doesn't feel manageable at all. . .something more frantic and impossible.  But these weeks in fall make me hopeful that someday, in the future, we'll have a manageable farm. I don't mind so much a busy farm, in fact, if you aren't busy during the season, you're doing it wrong, you know. But a manageable sort of busy feels so much better than a chaotic busy.

Either way, though, those are some beautiful and delicious veggies going out today, and I'm very proud of them.


ashleybrowning said...

and you should feel proud! You are going up against incredible odds...big agribusiness and a population that is SLOWLY supporting the local farm. i hope you go to bed proud every night! I hope to be in your shoes one day....there is someone who looks up to you!

Claire Boyles said...

Thanks Ashley. I'm sure someday you'll have a wonderful farm!