As the sun rises, the produce fields welcome you to harvest. Produce is often picked before the sun rises or just at day break. That is when we get the freshest, crispest product before the sun takes a toll and moisture is lost. The crew on the turnip harvest day a few weeks ago shown above consisted of 5 men, 4 children, and myself. I took the kids as a crew and Joe took his adult male crew. Together we pulled baby white turnips up out of the sand as fast as possible. They were moved to a refrigerated truck to protect their pale white covering and delicate leaves. At the front of the farm they were taken to be washed, hydrocooled, and boxed prior to an even larger truck arriving on the farm to move them into cold storage.
Over a decade ago, land was purchased in order to grow Indiana produce. It took that whole decade to prepare the ground and build the infrastructure to make sizable harvests a reality. Operating capitol, equipment, and pack lines take time to gain. But it is the growth in fertility and relationships that are most delicate and important to a good crop. While This Old Farm has marketed for a number of other produce farms, 2014 marks the first sizable produce planting of our own. The sheep have been cordoned off to a rotating pasture up front. Hay is being harvest on the middle field. And the back is now brimming with green rows as far as the eyes can reach. That first turnip harvest a few weeks ago was just a primer for the 90,000 heads of green romaine that will be harvested in the next few weeks.
When the kids asked for a garden this year I chuckled knowing they were going to have more “garden” opportunities than ever before. While they don’t hit the fields daily, they haven’t complained on the days they are requested. In fact they loved harvest day. It does a body good to get up early and feel the dirt before sunrise. Now that the cows are off the farm, the produce calls longingly for not only the hand that will harvest it, but the families that will enjoy it. Ask your grocer today to carry Midwestern lettuce harvested by This Old Farm’s dedicated hands, both big and small Romaine straight from the field. Nice solid heads grown organically right here in Indiana. Bok Choy and Kale also available for purchase this week for your wholesale needs!