Each week we work with a deadline, we must deliver the produce to you by 4:00 on Thursday. Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are devoted to harvest, washing and bagging. On Thursday your boxes are both packed and delivered. We start packing the boxes at 7 am, and begin setting up for the pack at 6:30. Each week we pack nearly 1100 boxes of produce. We then load the shares onto four different trucks, along with over 200 fruit shares and DreamFarm’s goat cheese. When the packing line is running smoothly we pack and load about 400 shares per hour. The last few weeks the shares have been 25 lbs – that means around 10,000 pounds of produce being packed very carefully per hour. Ten to fifteen people are putting vegetables into share boxes and loading trucks. Chris keeps the items stocked on the line, meaning continual trips to coolers with the hand truck. If someone’s item is getting low you will hear, “Chris, more broccoli!”

After the trucks have been loaded it’s time to deliver the vegetables. The four trucks go to 34 different pick up sites throughout Madison and the surrounding communities. The delivery trucks begin leaving at 10 am in order to complete all of the deliveries by 4 pm. The pick-up sites range in size from less than ten to 100 vegetable shares. At each site we deliver the freshly packed shares and pick up the empty containers from the previous week. The drivers have to carefully set up each site with check off sheets, fruit, cheese and produce. There is a lot of counting to make sure the correct number of shares are left at each site. Each truck has a sheet with the total number of each type of shares at each site, which should match the check off sheets. Most weeks run smoothly, occasionally there is a miscount and some scrambling to figure it out. And then there is Madison construction to navigate. When the delivery is finished the drivers return to the farm and unload all of the boxes that they picked up during their route.

Jesse

All produce is washed, weighed and bagged by Wednesday before we leave for the night.

All produce is washed, weighed, counted, bagged or banded by Wednesday before we leave for the night.

Elisabeth bringing stacks of produce out of cooler on Thursday morning.

Elisabeth bringing stacks of produce out of cooler on Thursday morning.

Vermont Valley Packing Line

Crates of produce are set up along a belt of rollers. Workers put one or two items into the CSA delivery containers then push the box to the next person. This process takes 2-3 hours.

The space where we pack CSA shares is in the lower level of our dairy barn. 50 years ago this was the home of milking cows and now it’s a clean, vegetable packing room.

Jesse rolling a pallet of full CSA shares onto one of the trucks.

Jesse rolling a pallet of full CSA shares onto one of the trucks.

All of the shares need to be neatly counted and packed on the truck so vegetables don't tumble out when we make a sharp turn!

All of the shares need to be neatly counted and packed on the truck so vegetables don’t tumble out when we make a sharp turn!

The shares are loaded of the truck 8 at a time. Each site takes 15 - 30 minutes to set up. Each truck makes 5 - 8 stops.

The shares are loaded off the truck 8 at a time. Each site takes 15 – 30 minutes to set up. Each truck makes 5 – 8 stops.