7/13/05 Vol. 2 #19

Well we survived the wild and long weekend.  We made it to Pittsburgh and to the church with twenty minutes to spare.  It all went beautifully- ceremony, reception, bride, families, etc.   We had a great time but were totally exhausted by the time we hit the bed on Saturday night (Sunday morning) after having been up since 3:30 a.m.!  A few hours of sleep then back on the plane to Raleigh.  We are still trying to recover, oh to be twenty something again!  The staff did a great job at market (and all of the customers did too) and at the farm.  Sure seems like a lot of coordination for only 24 hours gone from the place.  Congratulations Joann and Brian, they, like all good farmers, will be back at market today (honeymoon what honeymoon?).

The dog days of summer are surely here, we are wading through the days, and the air, expending as little energy as we can.  Mornings in the field, harvesting and trying to maintain the crops that are in the ground, then we slink back under the trees into the shade for the afternoon.  Betsy is working with the flowers and making bouquets for the deliveries to Weaver Street Market and the farmers’ markets.  I am carrying the goods to town, delivering to the store or the restaurants or Wednesday market.  The staff only works after noon on Wednesdays and Fridays, I just think that it is too brutal to ask humans to work out in the field, in the sun, when the weather is this beastly.  The afternoons that they do work we keep them in the shade too.  Seeding fall crops in the seed flats, sorting tomatoes and peppers down at the packing shed, getting orders together, etc.  We do have a few fields that become shady as the afternoon progresses so we can work in them if we must.  The peppers are in one of those this year and we can find some shady work there in the late afternoons too.

The chore that punctuates the week right now is the Monday and Thursday tomato harvest.  It takes all morning to pick the 1400 feet of row and then wipe, and sort the 21 varieties into the appropriate boxes.  We sort five ways-ripe, partly ripe (colored but need a few days to be ready to eat), freaks, eat today and compost.  Early in the season it takes time to “calibrate” the eyes as to which boxes a tomato should go in but after a few days it becomes automatic.  Then down to the air-conditioned packing shed for storage.  Stacks of boxes by variety and ripeness, hundreds of pounds.  The ripes go to the next market or delivery, giving the part ripes time to finish up for the next market/eating opportunity.  The freaks waiting for a good home, someone’s salsa or sauce, or the gazpacho at Elaines.  At the end of the morning the staff takes all they want from the “eat today” box and wearily head off to their afternoon endeavors, covered and grubby in tomato vine residue.

Pictures of the Week
These farmers scrub up pretty good
Dragging Brian back to the farm
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