Sunday PM: Harvesting and Delivering for the CSA

Sunday was a big day of gardening for me! After my neighbor and I built raised beds for the garden we're starting behind our apartment buildings, I went to my friend's house in Altadena to help in her garden.

My first task, as usual, was to clean the chicken coop. It went very smoothly, as we were able to tempt all ten hens to leave the coop for their adjacent enclosure - using stale tortillas. My friend actually has eleven hens, but only ten live in the coop. The little black hen, "Suzie Q," is a different breed, and much smaller than the others. They tend to pick on her, so Suzie Q gets to live outside the coop, truly free-range! I rarely see her, but she was out and about in the garden on Sunday. Here she is below, laughing at her confined would-be-tormentors!

The garden has been growing fast, and we were able to harvest many things on Sunday. Look how far the chard has come since April:

We left the chard to grow a bit longer, but I began pulling up beets. Below, you can see the beet greens, with curly kale leaves in the background. The kale is ready to go, too, but the CSA members don't care for it, so I'll harvest it for personal use next weekend.

Many of the beets were much larger this season than my friend had previously produced. It's hard to tell how big they will be until you pull them out, but some of the tops were already bulging above ground, which gave me a clue! I swished the beets in a bucket of water and pulled off any small, brown, scraggly leaves in order to make them presentable for the CSA customers :)  

I actually found the green plastic laundry bin on the curb a few houses down as I was driving to my friend's house that day.  One side is slightly cracked, but overall it's in good shape.  We hosed it off and scrubbed it a little, and now it's a perfect vegetable-harvesting crate!

I also pulled up a bunch of medium-sized carrots, swished them in a bucket, and cut off the tops. While they look gorgeous with the lush leaves, the CSA members never actually eat them - so I saved them (along with any particularly gnarly-looking carrots) as a treat for my grateful horse!

There are plenty more carrots ready for harvesting, but the afternoon was wearing on, and we already had a lot of other fruits and vegetables ready to deliver. We picked every last orange lingering on the tree, as well as a few lemons.

The biggest part of the afternoon was spent harvesting peaches! The little tree out front was heavy with small fruit. Although they were not ripe by normal standards, they needed to be picked before they were too soft, or else they would rupture while being transported.

We harvested the peaches in "upcycled" wire baskets that my boyfriend had donated to the garden from a broken shelving system:

In all, we delivered almost 30 kilograms (more than 60 pounds) of peaches to the CSA members! That's not counting the basket of "rejects" that we kept for ourselves.

Here's a shot of the beets, oranges, lemons, and some fava beans, ready for the CSA members to come pick up. There were also a few heads of lettuce, artichokes and kohlrabi, not shown.

The CSA consists of 8 families that all live in the same neighborhood of Pasadena. My friend leaves a list so that they each know how much of each type of item to grab when they come to pick up their produce. There is a scale for bulk items like the fava beans, while larger fruits and vegetables like the lettuce are indicated by number of units.

This was only her second CSA delivery of the season - but there will be many more to come. Hopefully I'll be there to document and take photos :)

No comments: