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August 6, 2014

It’s early August at Montalbano Farms and the farm is bustling. We wake by 5 to prepare for the day, putting together to-do lists and making last minute changes owing to last night’s rain. The crew comes in at 6 and the work day begins. The days are long and we have all been working very hard. The crew is noticeably tired.

It’s a packout day for our CSA so we prepare to pack boxes with produce harvested earlier in the week. More and more crops are ripening which makes our job a little easier. We line up the tables, get out the conveyors, fish out the boxes, and get to work. Today is Tuesday and we have a number of worker shares coming out today to lend a hand. We’ve been doing this for about 10 weeks now. Even though every week is different and every box has different items, we’re getting the hang of things and reducing mistakes.

The field crew is out spreading mulch and weeding. The wet soils facilitate weeding by softening up the soil, making weeding a little easier. We have been working very hard the past few weeks to keep our weed population manageable and the fields are looking very good. The weeds keep coming back, however, and we need to keep this up well into October. We’re also applying milky spore to the fields. Milky spore is a bacteria that helps us manage grubs from Japanese beetles. As any gardener knows, Japanese beetles can do a lot of damage quickly to our crops. We apply milky spores about every ten years and they really keep these pests under control.

We break for lunch at 11 and it’s a good one. Each day, we make lunch for the crew and volunteers and today we’re having rice and beans, cantaloupe, and salad. Alongside freshly baked bread, lunch goes down quickly.

Of course, we’re harvesting all day long. Today, we’re concentrating on picking beans. Not too many folks like to pick beans as it is long and tedious work. As a CSA farm, we grow a variety of crops to keep our CSA shares bountiful and diverse. Not all of these crops are profitable and beans are certainly a money loser for the farm. Nonetheless, today is bean picking day and we’ll spend about 4 hours gathering up this crop.

This afternoon, we spend some time getting our second cooler ready for summer crops. This is our “warm” cooler that we keep at 50 degrees. After harvesting, it’s important that we keep different vegetables at different temperatures. Crops like squash, eggplant, and peppers are like to be a bit warmer and they’ll go inside this cooler when it’s ready.

As late afternoon rolls in, we call it a day. The crew worked hard today and we accomplished much. It’s time for dinner and, for Farmer Rob at least, an early bedtime.