Yesterday morning was cloudy, threatening to rain. Crew members pulled into the parking lot at 7:00 a.m., then loaded into trucks and headed out to the fields for a big harvest day.
At this time of year, much of the harvest involves bunching greens. This task is not exactly difficult, but it does require a skilled labor force that can produce consistantly sized, high-quality bunches. With a large crew, it’s also important that workers are able to move swiftly from one job to the next without wasting time in the transition. Often times, small groups will break out and work on bundling up different kinds of greens.
The morning (like most mornings on the farm) started with cutting baby “greens” for salad mix.
lettuces for salad mix
harvesting arugula for salad mix
harvesting spinach, mustard greens, and bok choy for salad mix
harvesting spinach for salad mix
transitioning from cutting salad to bunching up greens
bunches of spinach
Many of our greens are covered with floating row cover to protect them from insect damage. At harvest time, the row cover is pulled back.
bunching baby bok choy
Over the course of the morning, a crew driver will ferry full tubs of greens back to the packing shed every half hour or so. This keeps the greens from wilting in warm weather (not such a problem yesterday), and it keeps the packing shed crew busy washing and distributing bunches while the field crew harvests.
harvesting mustard greens
harvesting bunches of yellow mustard
(Have you tried this stuff yet? It’s so mild and delicious.)
As the crew finishes up in an area, the floating row cover is put back in place until the next harvest.
bunching Italian parsley
Jess breaks off springs of Italian parsley.
David bunches up some radishes, and Enrique works in the rows of Italian parsley.
In Oregon, farm workers are not legally entitled to paid breaks, but every morning around 10:00 at Gathering Together Farm, the crew stops to rest and enjoy hot coffee and pastries baked in the farm stand kitchen by Ana, Paula, or Mary. This tradition is something of an extension of our farm lunch program.
Then it’s back to work.
Seed crops are integrated into fields alongside our market crops. This red kale (above left) has been cut and is drying before threshing, and the chard (above right) is flowering and will be harvested later in the season.
rows of lettuce
All morning, the packing shed crew (Sally, Mariana, Robyn, Laura, and Lisa, on this particular day) is busy washing and distributing salad mix and bunches of greens.
Working in the packing shed is a very wet job.
All of the produce harvested, washed, packed, and sorted yesterday will be at farmers’ markets this weekend. Find it at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market, Newport Farmers’ Market, Beaverton Farmers Market, Portland Farmers Market, or Hilldale Farmers’ Market.