Yesterday I posted about my first day at Kilpatrick Family Farm. For those curious enough about what I did the second day, here is approximately what Day Two looked like.
7-7:30 am: Unload tomato starter plants from truck and carry into greenhouse.
The Kilpatricks start most of their plants from seed with the exception of a select few, tomatoes being one of them. Michael uses starter-plants grown by a producer in Vermont for his tomatoes. I share this mostly because I found it refreshing to know that getting starter plants is not considered “cheating” in the farming world—and sometimes it just makes good business sense!
7:30-9 am: Cultivate rows of lettuce in hoop house.
I learned that “to cultivate” is different from “to weed,” the former is done using a machine and/or tool and the latter is accomplished by hand. If you cultivate early and often enough, you can simply leave the small weed seedlings mixed in with the soil between the plants. The air will dry out the weeds and the wind will blow them away. Larger weeds, with a stable root system, should be hand-picked and discarded.
9-11 am: Sort last seasons garlic in preparation to make garlic powder.
Just like Day One, only a lot more fun with the company of two other farm crew members.
11-12:30: Remove brush from side of field and load firewood into truck.
This task was by-and-large the most “manual” of all the manual labor and I’m just hoping my biceps grew a smidge from hauling tree branches and logs. Of anything I did while at the Kilpatricks, this task had me asking “Isn’t there a machine for this???”
1-4:15 pm: Wash and sort root vegetables in preparation for market.
The Kilpatricks fashioned quite a remarkable vegetable washing station and seeing it in full-action was quite something.
The vegetable washing station is comprised of a long, hallow, wooden cylinder about seven feet long and four feet wide. Strung through the top of the tunnel is a simple irrigation pipe. To wash the vegetables, we poured loads of them into the cylinder at the far end. When turned on, the tunnel rotates while water sprays.
A board placed at the near end of the tunnel keeps the vegetables inside. As the vegetables tumble about, dirt is scrubbed off and the spray of water provides a constant rinse. After a few minutes of tumbling, the trap door is removed and clean veggies tumble out, ready for sorting.
Washed vegetables are sorted based on their “pretty” factor, with the nice ones being set aside for individual sale at market, seconds being put together and sold as “Soup Bags” and thirds added to the compost bin.
A bin full of freshly washed black radishes (yes, radishes!) ready for market.
Some vegetables need help getting through the washing tunnel. Here, a farm crew member pushes them with a paddle-like “broom.”
Having been stored for the entire winter, these turnips show a great deal of bruising. Freshly harvested turnips come out of the ground white as snowballs.
Freshly washed carrots—my new favorite smell!