A Good Kind of Exhausted

I woke up yesterday morning–market opening day morning–at 5 a.m.  I did force myself to stay in bed until about six, but I didn’t get much more sleep.  I was thinking about all I had to harvest (once it was light enough to do so) and all the weeks and months I’d been preparing for this day.

If that sounds a little dramatic, consider that we started the process for getting the market ready to accept EBT & debit in January of this year, and there were many months and phone calls and e-mails and conversations between then and now.  The grant that helped us pay for the program was also a somewhat lengthy and detailed process.

Then there was all the usual stuff–re-confirming the location, signage, market manager, updating contracts and rules and getting them sent out to previous vendors. More phone calls. More e-mails. A couple of conferences and workshops.

I started out the morning with coffee and dog duties and packing the truck with the coolers and ice packs that were still here in town, rubber bands for bunching, produce bags for packing.  We (Vega and I) hit the road to the farm about seven.

I hadn’t sterilized all the coolers beforehand, so I spent about a half hour doing one of my least favorite chores–plunging my hands into ice-cold bleach-laced well water and scrubbing out the rest of the containers, then rinsing well and loading them in the truck with their tops open to air-dry.

My first (and most complex) harvest duty was this:

Encore Organic Salad Mix

Encore Organic Salad Mix

Did I mention I was growing some salad mix?  I am, and I made sure to sample a number of leaves of the different varieties as I went along to make sure they hadn’t gotten bitter in the heat.  Thankfully, they were still sweet and crisp.

salad mix detailIt’s so pretty, I had to get some detail shots.  My favorite of all these varieties is the deer tongue lettuce, with its bright green swirl of leaves around the crisp heart.

Deer Tongue lettuce

Deer Tongue lettuce

After the salad mix was harvested, I went around with my smaller harvest bucket to snip arugula, chive blossoms, cilantro and dill to blend in to form the Goddess salad mix.  I ended up with about twenty-one bags after two harvests of the mix and the arugula/herbs. Maybe I do need a couple more rubber harvest tubs!

Once the Goddess was packed away in the coolers, I was in a good position to harvest a few bags of mature arugula from the edges of that row-covered bed.  Then I went for the broccoli raab and baby bok choi–a simpler process, as the cooler weather allowed me to just clip and bag.

baby bok choiAfter that, the spinach and leaf lettuces (red and green), plus bunches of baby turnips with their gorgeous greens, plus the asparagus from our patch and the one I’d brush-mowed a couple weeks ago.  That patch is back in action, and the absence of tall grass makes harvesting so much faster and easier.

Hakurei Spring Turnips

Hakurei Spring Turnips

Finished harvesting by 12:15 and headed back into town to shower, do my one CSA delivery, pick up some signage, load the market supplies (pop-up, table, box of supplies, flats of plants, etc.), and eat something.  Arrived at the fairgrounds about 2:30 and was warmly greeted by our regular vendors, Garry and Barb Johnson from Lip Smakin’ Jellies (they’re almost always there first).

It was a great market–not a huge number of vendors (I counted six)–but it’s early in the season yet.  Many of the bigger truck farmers don’t have their staple crops ready for harvest yet and our meat vendors are thinking of starting next week.  A good turnout of customers–our regulars and some new faces as well.

I sold the heck out of all those greens I harvested, and only have a couple bags of spinach plus the display (now wilted) bags of greens left.  Serendipitously, a friend who raises rabbits called this morning to ask if I was interested in some buckets of manure, so I told him I’d trade him those leftover greens for it.  Good inputs=good outputs!

We had our first EBT and debit sales as well, and the board member running the machine said it went off without a hitch.  Nick Severson came down and tried out as market manager, and was really helpful getting the vendors set up and helping them tear down–he has accepted the position for the season.

This morning I managed to stay in bed a little longer–just plain tired from all the build-up and preparation.  But I had to roust myself to pick up our flyers advertising EBT/debit (and the market as a whole) and distribute a few around town.

Haven’t quite gotten the truck unpacked–the ice packs are back in the freezer and the supply box is inside, too.  But the big coolers will have to wait for now–they can make it out to the farm a little later on, once I’ve had just a little more rest!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Sure wish I could have been there. Once that farmers market stuff gets in your blood, it never leaves…I know for sure.

    Left the farm, as a young adult, squealing tires proclaiming I’d never set foot in another market again – well the language was a bit stronger than that – and it took, well 6 weeks before I had a job in the new town selling greens at a farmers market and the next year I was selling my own stuff.

    Can’t wait to have a look at your market and a taste of some of your produce. I want to print off the photos and eat them.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on May 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I’m glad you like the photos, but I implore you to wait until you can actually eat the greens themselves–the things they put in ink these days–GMO soy and all!

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