There is no denying that summer is here. Between the crates of eggplant, tomatoes and peppers we’re bringing to market to the three changes of sweat-soaked clothes on the floor at the end of each day, any other farmers out there switch up their laundry detergent brand to double-extra super strength during the growing season? Grease, dirt, sweat, blood, I swear, we should be in a laundry detergent commercial.
You can tell the summer heat is on from our early morning start times, too. When we’re harvesting greens, we need to be in the field by 6 a.m. By 10 a.m., it’s too hot to even consider picking anything in the greenhouses, so that’s got to be done as the sun rises, as well. The staff in the pack shed, were it’s partially enclosed and typically 20 degrees cooler, look out at the staff in the field, in the sun, weeding the sweet potatoes, with a mixed sense of guilt and relief.
We bought a new commercial ice machine that makes shaved ice, so we can “ice in” the kale and broccoli as they come in from the field. It’s great for extending the shelf life and making our harvest a bit more efficient, but it’s also been a terrific morale boost for the team. Ice-cold water on demand, plus we’re all set up for post-work margaritas, too.
I miss taking long walks around the farm for fun, but it’s just too hot and humid to subject yourself to torture like that when your office has cool air pumping from the vents and new episodes of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, although the cooler nights make a quick run to check on things enjoyable enough.
It is also quite evident that the seasons have shifted since no one sees the dog during the day, the cows stay under the tree line and the farm cats pathetically lay around, too miserable to meow, let along rub up against your leg.
Also, I think God knew what he was doing when he decided what crops should ripen at what points throughout the year. As the thermometer inches upwards, there are tomatoes and cucumbers and big heads of lettuce that I can eat without turning on the oven to cook. Sweet peppers aren’t that far off, and we’ve been harvesting zucchini and summer squash for the past few weeks, too.
I guess it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just strong laundry detergent, cool mornings, ice — and margaritas — air conditioning, Netflix and lots of fresh vegetables.