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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting Ready for a Winter Market

We have a farmers market this coming Saturday so we have spent the week getting ready for it. Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning we harvested greens. During the main growing season we would not think of harvesting so far away from a market but in winter cold gets in the way and if you can get a day of two of above freezing weather a week or less before the farmers market you harvest on those days. We can get away with this because we have found in winter, greens (and everything else) last a lot longer than thing harvested the rest of the year. My theory is that the bacteria that is on all fresh produce and will eventually cause it to rot is dormant in the winter. This means that lettuce that might last a week after harvest in summer will last about 3 weeks after harvest in winter. The other thing we have noted is in winter it is best to harvest greens late in the day. During the other seasons these are best harvested early in the morning. Winter is a backwards time to grow and harvest things.

On Monday I was making sure we have enough dried herbs and garlic powder ready to go. In doing that I discovered to forgotten products in the freezer-dried apples and dried cherry tomatoes. So I made up about 10 bags of each. Now we have two new products to offer at the farmers market and to the farm Share folks in April. Along with the tomatoes and apples I found we were short on dried basil and catnip so I made up more of those.

Wednesday I spent time going through all our table signs and tossing out what we no longer needed and making new signs for products that did not have a sign or things with a new price (we lowered a couple of prices) or new products. That took more time Than I though because the printer decided it did not want to print card stock paper (I have had this argument before with the printer and thought I had resolved it). Eventually I won the argument and got around to printing the pages I needed.

Today I went and bought a ream of paper so I can print out some more brochures and Farm Share Program fliers (which are about half way done). I also wrote and sent out an email to my 300+ subscribers alerting them to this market.

Tomorrow we will put spring mix, mizuna, baby lettuce into 6oz and 1/2 pound bags and about 100 pounds of parsnips into 1 and 5 pound bags. We also need to grade the leeks and put the small ones into bunches of 2 and 3. Than turnips and potatoes will need to be boxed up. That should take the two of us about 1/2 the day. But when it is all done we should be ready for a cold winter market.

The rest of the year we would easily do all of this work in about a day (actually about 3 or 4 times this much work) but cold weather really slows down the harvest

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