Here was our day last Friday... it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees...
"We take so much care in what we do because we do it for you!" Jean Smith
Friday is market morning... everyone gets out of bed starting around 6am through till about 9am~ those sleepy heads are typically the little guys! We have a simple breakfast of cereal and fruit, clean up... I can't stand dirty dishes on the counter~ especially when I know I will be working in there later! Do a simple walk through the house, throw a load of laundry in and do everyone's lists for the day... get the CSA list done...
~ Taylor is our runner on Fridays... off she goes to the butcher shop to pick up the animals that need to be processed for Saturday if they were not done on Thursday... later she will go and get all the produce and eggs that we purchase from our co-op of farmers...
~ Our farmer friends the Bechtels have been in their field for some time already I am sure... one of their 20 acres of produce is dedicated to green beans... they are busily picking for us and their markets right now, as we are getting our day started...
~ Ryan is typically our 'greens' man... he does a really good job at diligently cutting the chard that he planted earlier this spring... with knife in one hand and crate in other he heads out in the already 85 degree day... as he brings me the crates of chard with sweat dripping off his young brow, I work at sorting baby leaves from large, purging any yucky ones and then rinsing & finish by bagging... about 2 hours later off to the cooler!
~Kyle is our go to man and he is busy harvesting scallions (green onions), he very carefully looks at each stem so as not to pick them too young. After he harvests about 200 or so... off to hose them done with cold water so they don't wilt... as he rinses them he carefully gets all the dirt out of the roots that he will hand trim with a pair of scissors shortly... then take off the outer leaves so they look white and clean... bunching and bagging time... about 2 hours later he is off into the cooler to put his wares in a safe place.
~Our Amish friends, the Millers are busy in their field picking those beautiful heads of cauliflower that will adorn your shares tomorrow along with our market tables... Broccoli is another story though... over 5000 heads and because of the very unusual heat that June has given, close to half the heads have bolted... what a lose! Yet they are diligently out there harvesting what they can and breaking off the bolts hoping for side shoots...
~Ethan is probably tilling in the dry, hot field with dust blowing up into his face as he walks behind the tiller where the tractor laid the plastic rows too close and now the tractor with pull behind tiller doesn't fit... luckily there are only a half dozen or so... but it must be done.
~ In the mean time our hired girl Eva has arrived and she starts picking the beets that are on the list next... off goes Eva to pick, wash and sort... she needs about 300 or so to fill all the needs of our CSA and market friends... carefully going through and picking she carries each crate over to the wash & pack station and gives the beets to Kyle who will lay them all out and wash them with fresh, cold water to make sure they stay hard and beautiful for tomorrow... next he sorts them out by size and puts in the crates accordingly for Eva... who when done harvesting will take any yucky leaves off, bunch for the market tables and CSA... about 2 1/2 hours later then move on...
~The tomatoes were harvested on Thursday by the Yoder family and packed and ready for pick up... absolutely perfect in size and shape... all to please our CSA members and market friends...
~ next the herbs are cut and bagged... kale and any other greens... they must be first because the heat cannot get into the leaves...
~Kyle moves onto the potatoes... he needs to dig at least 3 bushels full to fill all the CSA shares and have enough to sell... down the hot rows he goes with potato fork in hand... digging away. After he is done, about hour or so, off to the wash station... potatoes are fairly simple to clean... hose off in the crates and let air dry in the shade... package and off for lunch and then produce pick up...
~The heat is on and the cucumbers and squash must be picked before the heat gets into them... off go the Kempf's, soft gloves on to be sure no scratches happen to the delicate squash... going into the prickly leaves, arms being scratched they pick bushels upon bushels in their fields.... cucumbers are beautiful...
~Lunch time... sandwiches and cold refreshing fruit and lots of cold, cold water, lemonade or garden tea...
~ Back at it... We need to get any other produce picked, washed and packed before Taylor & Kyle get back with the rest of the produce...
~ After they arrive we sort through all the beautiful produce our dear farmer friends have been spending the morning doing as we were. Eva works on all the produce that we will sell at market while I work at all the CSA stuff...
Kyle is cleaning out and loading everything we need for market and carrying all the heavy crates and boxes down to the cooler...Several hours later it is finally supper time and if everything is done we can go take cold showers and go to bed... oh but wait... I still need to do the inventory lists for the two CSA groups and email them... check the email... OK... 10:30 or so I can hit the sack
2am... Neil is up with the boys and loading all the meat into the freezer... there they go into the basement cooler and are going to haul up all the produce up and load into the trailer...
3am... Jean & Taylor's alarms go off... up we go... check the email just in case before we are out... get my coffee...
4am... crank the engine and off we go to market on the wings of prayer!
... see you there!
Plant Tags... A market friend of mine taught me this nifty trick some years ago and I loved the idea as soon as I heard it. We all have those old plastic vertical blind's that have been bent and just jammed into the closet. Well drag em' out and put them to work! Simply cut them to the length you need according to the height of the pot you wish to mark; next use a permanent marker and write the plant name on it! Now there's recycling at it's best.
Plant Growing File's are nifty and quite handy. To create an indispensable reference guide to your garden, staple seed packets to index cards and organize them in a recipe box. Staple only one edge of a packet, so you can flip it over to see instructions for growing. On the lined side, note when the seeds were sown, when they sprouted, and any other dates you might need for future seasons. After the harvest be sure to add if you like the variety, any tips for a better harvest next year or any other pertinent info that you will want to remember for next year!
BBQ Station... A lattice panel is more than just a pretty backdrop. When hung near your grill on a section of your fencing or railing, it provides square upon square from which to hang your basic BBQ supplies: brushes, pot holders, and more. Use metal 'S' hooks to hang anything with a built-in loop, as well as bins, racks, and grill baskets. Corral small tools, such as basting brushes and meat thermometers, in stainless steel perforated bins and wire racks, which resist rust and won't collect rainwater... go to the web site to see photo!
Some More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes...
Creamy Cucumber Crunch Salad
Yummy dressing and the crunch of garden fresh cucumbers, this salad will be hit with both family & friends!
1 tsp. salt
6 scallions, thinly sliced
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh dill,chopped and loosely packed
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1. Peel cucumbers; cut lengthwise & scoop seeds out with the small end of a melon baller; slice into 1/4 inch slices.
2. Toss cucumbers with salt in a large bowl, then cover with cold water; set aside in fridge for half hour; drain all but about 2 tbsp. of the water.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, mix well; add to the drained cucumbers.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill fro at least one hour and up to overnight before serving.
Herb Roasted New Potatoes
... we had this for supper tonight... so yummy!
2 quarts new red skin baby potatoes
1 cup sweet onion, halved then sliced
1/2 cup thyme infused olive oil OR 1/2 cup olive oil and 2 tbsp.s fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese plus all juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1. Put potatoes and onions in a deep dish 9"x13" baker; pour oil over; toss to coat evenly.
2. Sprinkle with salt & pepper; dollop with butter; sprinkle crumbled feta cheese evenly over top; pour the juice over top.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes; stir potatoes to mix cheese in and coat all potatoes with oil; bake for 15 to 20 more minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.