Large crews and long hours are spent harvesting vegetables.  But then what?  It all comes into the packing shed to get washed, weighed, bagged, bunched, sorted, counted.  Here’s a glimpse into this week’s packing shed.

Brush washing cucumbers.  Rozalyn, on the left, feeds the harvested cucumbers onto a conveyor belt.  They roll over soft brushes and get sprayed from above as they pass through the washer unit.  Then out they come onto a rotating round table.  The people standing around the round table (Clara and Ann) check for quality and count the cucumbers into crates (60 per crate, exactly).  The crates get stacked 7 high and moved by hand truck to get weighed; then recorded onto a spread sheet.  This is the same process we use for summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.

Brush washing cucumbers. Rozalyn, on the left, feeds the harvested cucumbers onto a conveyor belt. They roll over soft brushes and get sprayed from above as they pass through the washer unit. Then out they come onto a rotating round table. The people standing around the round table (Clara and Ann) check for quality and count the cucumbers into crates (60 per crate, exactly). The crates get stacked 7 high and moved by hand truck to get weighed; then recorded onto a spread sheet. This is the same process we use for summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.

Washing carrots in a barrel washer.  Chris, at the far left, dumps crates of carrots onto a conveyor belt which carries them into the barrel washer.  Water is sprayed onto the carrots as the barrel turns.  The clean carrots exit through a chute and move on another conveyor to a waiting crate.  Brian inspects the carrots and then stacks the full crates of carrots.  Each full stact is hand-trucked to the scale where the weight is recorded.  Thye move into a 34 degree cooler until they are bagged.

Washing carrots in a barrel washer. Chris, at the far left, dumps crates of carrots onto a conveyor belt which carries them into the barrel washer. Water is sprayed onto the carrots as the barrel turns. The clean carrots exit through a chute and move on another conveyor to a waiting crate. Brian inspects the carrots and then stacks the full crates of carrots. Each full stack is hand-trucked to the scale where the weight is recorded. They move into a 34 degree cooler until they are bagged.

Washing lettuce heads.  As lettuce is harvested it is packed into crates.  We drive the truck full of lettuce to the packing shed.  The washing is done by our Tuesday morning worker shares (members who work each week for their share). Cathy takes the crates of lettuce from the truck and sets them out for Jamie to spray.  Claiborne moves the sprayed crate to a stack so Kristin and Sandy can dip them into tubs of water.

Washing lettuce heads. As lettuce is harvested it is packed into crates. We drive the truck full of lettuce to the packing shed. The washing is done by our Tuesday morning worker shares (members who work each week for their share). Cathy takes the crates of lettuce from the truck and sets them out for Jamie to spray. Claiborne moves the sprayed crate to a stack so Kristin and Sandy can dip them into tubs of water.

Bagging potatoes and recording lettuce.  The potatoes are dumped into our bagging table.  Two people slide potatoes through a hole into a waiting bag.  Jamie is looking at the scale readout to see that she has put the correct weight into the bag.  We use this bagging table for everything that gets bagged.  In the backround Barb is recording the weight of stacks of lettuce.  The stacks of crates are sitting on a scale.

Bagging potatoes and recording lettuce. The potatoes are dumped into our bagging table. Two people slide potatoes through a hole into a waiting bag. Jamie is looking at the scale readout to see that she has put the correct weight into the bag. We use this bagging table for everything that gets bagged. In the background Barb is recording the weight of stacks of lettuce. The stacks of crates are sitting on a scale.

A look at the bagging scale from the bagger’s perspective.  The full bags of potatoes are placed into crates.

A look at the bagging scale from the bagger’s perspective. The full bags of potatoes are placed into crates.

Introducing the Vermont Valley Tomato Family 

We are now harvesting from every tomato patch on the farm.  Here is what you can expect to see in your share box over the next couple of months.  Hopefully this will help you identify it when you see it in your share.  Most of our tomatoes are Heirloom varieties.  An Heirloom is an open pollinated variety that has been passed down for generations.

Garden Peach: These 2oz yellow fruits blush pink when ripe and have fuzzy skins somewhat like peaches.  Soft skinned, juicy and very sweet.  Light fruity taste is not what you would expect in a tomato.

Orange Banana: Long, orange paste-type tomato. Sweet and flavorful.

Black Prince: A 3-5 oz. tomato with a deep reddish/purple color and unusual brown shoulders that become orange-red as they ripen. Distinctive, rich, fruity tomato flavor.

Red Zebra: A small red tomato overlaid with golden yellow stripes.

Ruth’s, Estiva, Wisconsin 55, Pink Beauty: Red slicing tomatoes with amazing flavor and texture.

Japanese Trifele Black: A tomato that looks like a beautiful mahogany-colored Bartlett pear with greenish shoulders.  A rich and complex flavor.

Cherry Tomatoes: Sun Gold, Jasper(red), Red Velvet, Yellow Mini, Tronjina (orange), Sakura (red), Solid Gold and Black Cherry.  We mix them up for you.

Roma/Paste/Plum/Processing Tomatoes: These tomatoes are drier than most slicing tomatoes, making them perfect for cooking, drying, sauce and salsa making. We grow a mix of traditional red paste tomatoes and others with fascinating shape, size and color.  Here are their names:   Plum Regal, Granadero,  San Marzano, Monica, Viva Italia, Speckled Roman, Amish Paste, Federle, Sheboygan, Opalka, Oxheart. 

We aim to harvest our tomatoes just before they are vine-ripe. We do this so you don’t receive an over ripe tomato.  But it also means that you may receive a tomato that needs to sit on your counter for a day or two before it is perfect to eat, heavy and quite soft.  And when you do receive a very ripe tomato, eat it up.

top row, left to right:  Black Prince, Pink Beauty, Ruth’s or WI 55 (they look similar), Debarao bottom row,  left to right:  Garden Peach, Orange Banana, Red Zebra, Japanese Trifele Black

top row, left to right: Black Prince, Pink Beauty, Ruth’s or WI 55 (they look similar), Debarao
bottom row, left to right: Garden Peach, Orange Banana, Red Zebra, Japanese Trifele Black