Growing produce means that we have leftovers. Blemished fruits, oversized vegetables, and some leftovers from markets leave us with plenty to recycle. We have several options. We can put it in the worm bin for them to create worm poo, a great fertilizer or we can feed it to the chickens to turn it into eggs. This year we are also raising two female pigs. They eat everything, but they have a special fondness for peaches and Armenian cucumbers. It is hillarious to hear them squeal in excitement when they see the produce boxes.
On a farm, summer days pile up fast. Here at Boozer Farms we ofter feel like Lucy on the famous episode of I Love Lucy where she is working on the assembly line making chocolates. As candy comes marching relentlessly down the line, she gets behind on packing them and begins suffing them in her mouth, shirt, and everywhere else in a desperate attempt to keep up. It often feels like we are running crazy trying to keep up and everytime we blink days have marched by and the and the to-do list threatens to spill off the board.
Our days start early. On week days we get up around 5 am and pull onto the farm at 6:30. Sometimes our crew gets there even earlier for sod orders. We try to pick vegetables first thing so the heat is not as hard on them or us. If we pick a vegetable when it is already hot, it takes a long time to cool it down and can increase our losses and our cool room costs.
As we pick, we are constantly watching for disease or pest issues. We pull weeds and trellis new growth as we go. Caring for the field in this way helps us keep our plants healthy and is part of out strategy to use as few sprays as possible.
If you wandered into the field you might hear a dissertation by James, our resident historian, on the founding of the country or the importance of local politics. Or you might hear Daniel explaining some obscure fact about livestock care. His family raises cattle, goats, and chickens and produce hay and Daniel is our go to guy on all things animal. Micah keeps everyone going with his ability to quote his favorite comedian and Ethan keeps spirits high with a sweet smile and inexhaustable love for tractors. Our team truly enjoy each other. If the picking starts to get long and backs start to get sore, the singing starts. A favorite is old hymns but often with a silly twist…Amazing grace how sweet the sound, the strawberries are almost dooonnneee!
When the crops are in, buckets and baskets are hauled into our barn to be weighed, recorded, and cooled. This is usually a great time for a break as we gear up for the day. After all it is only 10 am.