Friday, September 25, 2020

The CSA Prep Dance - Look Back

As far as blogging goes, this one comes from quite a ways back (the blog started in December, 2008).   I find it instructive to see how we handled our daily CSA day routine at that time.  There are many similarities and many differences to things that go on even today.  I suppose the biggest difference is that we no longer do a CSA and our crop variety is much smaller than it was then.

The picture above is from September of 2010.  We have no digital pictures from 2009!

Perhaps this will still speak to people who take advantage of farmers market sales or CSA sales.  This is a version of what local growers do to put food on their tables for your use.  This is NOT a small thing.  Just think about it a little bit....  This one was published on September 28, 2009.


Tuesdays and Thursdays, in particular, are very full days that usually require motion for most of the day. For your enjoyment, we present to you the merry-go-round that is one of these days! *

6:00 Get up
6:10 Stretch, shower, wonder why the sun is not yet up
6:30 T typically will make biscuits, muffins, eggs, or some such thing - bless her!
6:30 Feed cats & fish
6:45 Feed & water ducks, hens, broiler chickens, turkeys
7:15 Figure out day's tasks - post on board for worker(s)
7:20 Determine pick amounts needed for distribution
7:30 Pack up flats with peppers, summer squash and zucchini picked yesterday afternoon
7:30 If Tues, send T on her way to school. If Thu - send her on her way about 10.
7:40 Gather potatoes, onions, garlic (already picked) for distribution
7:45 Locate scales, bags, market box, signs, etc for distribution day and get them to truck
8:00 Prep for worker arrival - set out tools, gather containers, set up tables, etc.
8:15 check tractor fuel, oil, etc.
8:30 Arrival of worker
8:45 Pick Lettuce - R (note to self - that knife is really sharp, check for all fingers every so often)
8:45 Pick beans - worker + Tammy?
8:55 Hydro-cool lettuce
9:10 Pick kale and/or chard
9:20 hydro-cool kale and/or chard (check again for fingers, they're getting numb in that water!)
9:30 pick beets and/or turnips
10:15 hydro-cool/wash beets/turnips
10:30 pick eggplant - one worker weighing/bagging beans
11:15 pick hot peppers/sweet peppers
11:30 worker lunch break
11:45 load flats into truck picked thus far
12:15 lunch break (hopefully)
12:45 pick tomatoes
1:00 worker returns - cleans beets/turnips, bundles kale/chard, packs lettuce (she's a really good worker!)
1:30 pick snack tomatoes
2:00 pick okra or basil or other items
2:25 uh oh - look at the time- roll carts back to truck as fast as possible
2:30 load truck up rest of the way, worker seems to have most everything ready to go. Play "tetris" and get it all in the truck.
2:45 Rapidly put away any tools, tractors, laundry, etc that we would be very disappointed in finding outside if a freak storm should arrive. Don't laugh, we learned from experience.
2:55 Run around and find anything that has not yet gone in the truck. Change into clean clothing. Oops, don't forget the eggs!
3:00 Get out of Dodge - try to make calculations for distribution amounts for produce that did not come out with desired numbers in the pick.
3:30-3:50 (depending on location) park the truck and try to set speed records for setup. (current record is 11 minutes - including pop up tent set up (3:27) , four tables, produce out and labeled)
3:30-6 or 4-6:30 - keep produce trays full, answer questions and watch people walk away with yummy produce.
6 or 6:30 - Determine produce to donate to Food Bank or Cedar Valley Friends of the Family.
6:10 or 6:40 - Pack up/reload truck
6:30 or 7:00 - Load ourselves into truck
Upon return - "Lock down" birds for the night (ducks, hens, broilers and turkeys) - hopefully everyone is where they are supposed to be - if not, we have more to do.
Take critical items out of the truck and put them away.
Close up buildings, make sure water sources are off, check mail, etc.
9:30 - play a game if we are both able to count the number of fingers being held up by the other person at this point.
10:20 Set alarm
10:30 We don't usually remember what happens at 10:30

* note - this schedule assumes a day that is generally well-organized. don't assume you'll catch us exactly on this schedule any given day! 


This schedule was written for a year (and time of year) where most of the work was done just by Rob.  Tammy would help when she was not at school.  So, yes, she worked (and still works) more than one job when we are doing farm things.  Our helper in September of 2009 worked only on CSA distribution days.  If I had not had that help...  Well, we did - and that's why we succeeded.

It is a good reminder to me what we used to do regularly on this farm to get produce to everyone.  If we want to re-enter the world of CSAs we're going to need to consider doing it differently, because I am not sure I am willing to go back to that schedule!

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