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Pick, Pack, and Wash: Challenges and Solutions

John Dysinger Larry Lesher Alan Seiler


Harvesting, washing, and packing vegetables for market takes more time than anything else on the farm. Come learn lean and efficient techniques for speeding up these steps. Also come prepared to share ideas from your own farms.



  • January 18, 2018
    4:00 PM


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This is pick pack and wash we're here to talk about what actually is a huge part of market farming. If you haven't been there yet what you'll find between pick pack and wash and marketing. Once you get into the season that consumes the vast majority of your time and facts so much of your time that you have a very hard time doing the other stuff like planting and cultivating. Right Are we in agreement here or. It's easy to create a lot of work on the farm when you plant seeds they make a lot of work. So this is an extremely important sense stage to try to increase efficiency is if the more you can create increase efficiency and pick pack and wash then the more time you have for all those very important things like planting and cultivating. Planning and so on so obviously there's three main sections pick and as I said earlier it would be better to say pick wash and pack that's usually the way you do it. So we thought we could just kind of go through each of those and. See what questions you have and then we can share our experiences in those three areas so I think there might have been some confusion when I first walked in people I think were thinking this was going to be like a lecture this is actually a roundtable discussion so just so everyone in here is aware of the format that we're going to be doing it's we're here we. All had watched ations for well quite a while at least and so the purpose of this is for us to just kind of share you guys you guys have questions we can share our expertise while we do what we do experiences that we've had to kind of help you know encourage you or facilitate you getting down that road a little better OK we've got a question in the back. When to pick morning. In the morning OK that's the boy that's a big question. Yeah we we have to know what crop you're talking about in order to know when to pick it. So. You know a lot of things people don't realize can be can be picked at most any stage like a cucumber. You know a ripe cucumber. According to you know a ripe cucumber we would say is over right right that's when it's ready the first seed So basically you can pick a cucumber this small and it's going to taste wonderful. Eggplant the same way so in large part you know a beat can be picked most people wouldn't buy a beet if it were this big. It they're usually delicious My experience is when I have oversized beets we eat them at home and they're they're perfectly fine but most people if you're thinking about when should you pick something like a beet For instance most people want their beets about this big and they want them uniform in size so bead is ready to pick in a whole gamut of stage of you know like a whole time large time frame but you want it when it's best. For you to sell it. You know and so if you're wanting to have beets let's say for without tops non bunched and you just want to put them on the table. Beads Typically I would say those are bigger beats but if you're doing bunched beads typically that's going to be a smaller beat. OK So the question was is the fray going Frager when fragrance. Of the of the fruit I'm guessing like in melons I'm guessing would possibly be one of those that fragrance would be a factor and as far as the ease of which it comes off the plant is that also a factor the quick That's the question. I'm trying to I'm racking my brain here ease of come off OK I haven't grown a lot of milk Uncle John. There are certain melons they call it full slip if you know if you give it a little tug and it comes off easily then it's right but I'll tell you melons are rough at least for on the scale we grow them. I always when we take melons to market it's always with the prayer Lord please just make them good for these people because this is your your reputation at stake here. And now and I'll tell you on our farm we grow a fair amount of melons we don't grow a ton of melons but we put them in our C.S.A. So we grow enough to have them several times throughout the year we do a muskmelon we do a honeydew melon we do a watermelon we do a large watermelon in a small watermelon. We have a guarantee because melons you can't look inside of a melon and typically our melons are decent at the worst but if someone's unhappy My guarantee is bring it back and we will make it right if you get this home it's not what you expected it to be it doesn't matter if you're expecting it to be the sweetest thing on the planet it was only moderately sweet we want to meet your expectation if it doesn't come back we'll make it right and so things like that we just kind of put that out there for people and make it clear to them when they buy it you know this is our guarantee. You know I think you were talking about vines so maybe something like pieces that what you were. Well well and you were you were taking about of well the way he that you described it first almost like you're talking about picking peas or something and for picking piece something like that this is how I know when they're ready I go pick one and I taste it or else was the between Mills but. I don't know how else to do it you know you can say like a a a. A snappy You know it should be plump and full of snow peas should be flat you know if a snow pea gets fatter and you start getting season they're probably going to be kind of starchy they're not very good they get real stringy you know and so you know each thing is going to have its own nuances you're determining when is this product ready. You know and a lot of times for me if I'm selling to like a higher end restaurant they actually want things immature and if I'm picking them when I would take them to market their Tolly not interested like to them that's. Garbage really and so they want you know so you got to know what you're picking for and definitely you know taste Duff because. If you like it most likely your customers are going to like it. In my experience most chefs want white for instance zucchini they're going to want that you know eight to well maybe not even that much Yeah they're way to small and they're one in a uniform you know and so you know that's a big thing because they're chopping a lot of stuff up and the more uniform it is the easier it is to process that product. One one key word is baby. If you call it baby you can charge a lot more for it so you know we used to we used to have beats that you know in our mind we're kind of cast offs because they never sized up. But you just you just harvest them and bunch them and call him baby B. and you can sell him for the price of big beats. OK Well we. Are Yes No I think we are we need to move on. Like go away I think if you come tomorrow to the salat next class you'll get your answer but for the short answer is yes you do need to know there are state regulations on what's called Field cut greens and so if you are processing facility you cannot process greens legally and when you come from somewhere that doesn't have a processing license you cannot call that ready to eat if you call that ready you're breaking the law and so you can and you what you should do and we'll get to that and in this process right here you'll see the bubbler on the screen but we'll get to the process of what that looks like but dancer your question directly is something like So you're going to be ridiculous everybody here no ridicule as the red stuff you find in your mix baby greens the little kind of almost looks it's real crunchy white the beautiful vibrant purple. It's wonderful stuff it's absolutely phenomenal. Usually when we would process process that we would harvest it like a it looks like a cabbage almost and we cut the bottom off and we cut it in fours that's totally against the law so in the field it's a one cut you can make one cut that's a field cut and that's legal. You can check by state by state if you if they have different regulations on that but generally that's that's what it means. I just took some training a few weeks ago that's done basically the U.S.D.A. has worked with local the local state university and their I mean the food Modernization Act that's coming through well it's gone through revisions and it's changed a lot and it continues to change some of these laws are a constant thing but Larry's right the difference is is that are you cutting the epidermis or you cutting the skin of the product if you're taking one cut like you know whether the lettuce is this big in your cutting the bottom off or it's this big and you're cutting the same spot that's consider even though the overall size of the plant is smaller it's still considered like you're harvesting entire head even though it's just miniature The problem is that if I take that let us make that one cut turn it over and then slice it into That's when it becomes a problem and of course some of these lines are really fine but you know ultimately speaking you know you've got to draw the line somewhere because they don't want people processing things in facilities that aren't up to code for it so that's really what it comes down to and it's getting more strict so as small farmers are concerned we need to be more careful because you know one or two of a slip up in the regulations are going to be stronger because as it stands now as far as processing stuff that's already in place now as far as field processing like that one cut. There is regulation for that as well for bigger farmers but you are not required to comply with that regulation I believe if you're selling within a two hundred fifty mile radius and you're selling under I believe it's half a million dollars a year or so most That's federal Yeah so right now most of you probably will not be under regulation you might never be under regulation but the thing is is that it doesn't matter if you do something and. Someone gets sick and they can trace it back to you then everyone else is in a bunch of trouble as well so it's good to try to protect everyone by doing what's right. So I think the keys here are number one. Small farms don't have to comply at this point with the Food Safety Modernization Act but you need to be aware that it may be coming down the pipeline and secondly don't ever sell think anything like salad mix Don't ever say it's ready to eat you know tell them take it home and wash it that way you're not telling them it's been processed even though you have washed it you know if they eat it and you know without washing it. You know you can't say you didn't tell him it's so. OK Other questions where we're talking about harvesting here harvesting. I'm looking at growing tomatoes this year in my high tunnel and I wanted to create a system that was efficient in the high tunnel because that was for me the best place I have it's under cover to do this so I was thinking about as I'm picking the tomatoes wiping them down with a rag you know and packaging them as I'm picking them so I'll have a car will be like a one gallon tin can of water maybe hydrogen peroxide I don't know what would be the best but just wiping each tomato down as I go and packing them is there anything wrong with doing that. Make sure it's clean water it that's actually I was unable to sit in the leaning one this morning but did he talk about single piece flow either. That's the right term. OK So that actually BEN HARTMAN in his book The Lean farmer will tell you that it's more efficient. To to take your product from the vine to ready to go to market all at one time it goes against kind of what we've thought for so many year you know let's pick a mall and then we wipe them all down and then we pack a mall but it's much more efficient to do it all right there in fact he like with beets he he bunches them and has a bucket dip some washes a modest pack some in the box all in the field goes straight in the cooler and off to market so yeah I mean that's a great that's the most efficient way to do it you know our son with with his his manufacturing of the Greens Harvester which is a you know that's not farming but it is amazing he used to do batches you know like assemble fifteen at a time. And now he's doing them one at a time and the increase in efficiency and speed is tremendous taking it from you know taking one Harvester from beginning to end and then starting on the next one so it is much more efficient. Other questions. OK hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner Oh it as far as my experience with tomatoes I don't I wouldn't use the water I would just use a towel with a dry towel. And if you need water or something you can just have a little on hand I find they just like expecting a greenhouse you know I don't think you're going to have much cleaning to do really as far as my experience is concerned not with hydrogen peroxide but whatever you can do to kind of limit what you put on like a chemical or anything other than water because it can sometimes alter the taste of a product it will be absorbed I mean you know skin our skin any skin has a high absorption ratio to it usually it's because there's air passing through there so I wouldn't want to put something on the I mean it might alter the taste like I said I don't know about hygiene proc side but I like the idea of a rag better than than putting something and my alter taste I have to say how much you want to call them. Oh so I. Repeat the question so I can repeat. What about cooling tomatoes and like response to that was how much do you want to cool them. I would say not under fifty five. I would want to call them much under fifty five. Because if you call them too much it changes the texture to Millie almost And that's really nasty. And they lose flavor Larry said. OK I'm I'm trying to be sensitive to time here we're almost halfway through and so I think where you will we can just share a few tips on harvesting and then we need to go to washing. So. This board right here has been a huge thing for us and unfortunately it's not really set up because this I just took this picture the other day and in the winter you know we're not going full bore but this is a dry erase board we put these you can buy this tape to put on here and this is straight out of Ben Hartman's the lean farm if you haven't gotten that book I highly recommend it as far as increasing efficiency on the farm it's tremendous. It's magnetic so you can see the this is up here but so you know we can use these columns for like assigning people you know put their initials what they're picking you know we actually made. Magnetic labels so we don't have to keep writing all the different things so we just write the list of what's being harvested You can also hear you know. If you don't assign a particular person to it whoever is doing it checks that they're out doing it so you're not going to go do it you know double up. When it's done you can put a check in the next column so you just look at the board and you say OK these things are done this still needs to be done and you know here you've got this is C.S.A. and this maybe farmer's market and this is. Our co-op that we sell to and so you're writing quantities there so any way you know you can you can adjust it to your specific situation by. Having it all there so you're not out there trying to say OK now I have you done this in you done that all you have to do is look at this and you know exactly where you are in the harvesting process so very very helpful. That is. Brilliant So take note of that. We've always done it on paper but I think a whiteboard is probably much more efficient than paper expression in a wash nation. And I think as advice on picking you know I've watched people do it fast. When I first started the farmer that I interned with he told me this we were picking kale and he said when you pick kale do you not pick a piece of kale and put it in the other hand and pick a piece of kale and put it in the other hand he said you pick three four then you you see what I did what I did one two three four hands full put it in and went to so that's a good thing to know speed you don't want to this motion takes time this motion takes less time right so that's a good thing to know. This might sound counterintuitive in a lot of people may disagree with me but I've cut my hands a whole lot I harvest salad mix a lot by hand. And when you cut just it happens so for me my knife is extremely Dole. And when I get a new knife I always cut myself bad and so I tend to use a dull knife for certain things other things a dull knife can be real dangerous and so know the toll you want to use and why you want to use it. There are better tools for head lettuce than a cerate knife they make special Nies where it's kind of angled at the tip and you can just push it underneath and it slices you know they're called and you know they're called. This. Is a let us lettuce filled knife Johnnie's carries them you'll handle. Those tips that I would give about harvesting and tried to keep the stuff you're harvesting out of the sun. So if you have a tote in your harvesting chart or something instead of packing it straight down into times we turn the top sideways so and the sun's over there than the back is towards the sun so it's in the shade if you do this and you make bunches and you stick them underneath the charred. You better know how many bunches you harvest it and when you get to the wash station or before you get to the wash or when you're picking them up make sure you count them because I invariably you will find you. Bunches in the field the next day that didn't do well. OK so I have two things one thing that we're going to be implementing here in the future and another thing that I see a lot of farmers make a mistake on and it's it takes them they lose a lot of production a lot of time and it's difficult to do but it needs to be done the number one is having walkie talkies with you because inevitably there's going to be an extra order that comes in someone's in the wash house processing stuff and let's say Larry left a you know. Larry left some chart out in the field I get that in the wash house and he's out picking something else but it might be near if you have a walkie talkie everyone's on the same frequency you say hey I need three more charge here we didn't get the charge here instead of someone running way out to the villain saying. Yeah. Right so the idea is that how being available they're on everyone so that you're constantly hearing how the partisan is progressing and that if you if you're close to place you can chip in or someone got out there and they forgot their night then you're heading out like a so and so just said they needed a knife take this to them you know type of thing so that can really increase the communication went on harvesting days the second thing is knowing when it's not worth to harvest a crop and this is sometimes very hard to do but I've seen this on a lot of farms as they let their squash crop gets to a certain size words very big and now you're going through trying to you know get this little squash but the reality of the matter is is that the time it's taking you to harvest the crop is not what the crop is worth and so I try to set a limit on how long I think that crop will actually be easily cherry tomatoes is another good example of this the plants are like you know there are all over like this Let's say that you didn't string them up and took care of them they're all over like this and you're like trying to lift them up to get a few cherry tomatoes at that point it takes too much labor to get that crop than it's worth it's better to cut it out and have an additional succession come in than to try to take care of that crop and harvest off of it so those would be. The two things that I would say Now as far as what that line is. That gets a little tricky but there is a point where it's saying OK this crop has done well enough we need to kind of cut loose and make sure we have another one coming in. OK one one last little tip you know a lot of things you're bunching with rubber bands so we always just if we know you know we look at the harvest board OK we need twenty five bunches a kale count the rubber bands out and then you put them on your three fingers here you know I used to put them around my wrist but you know you feel like you're going to cut off your circulation so you just put them on the three fingers then when you have your bunch ready your rubber bands are right there you just do it put it down and go on to the next one and then you're not having to recount OK well how many bunches did I have you know you think you can do it in your head but then somebody will distract you and it's so you're starting from scratch again so just a little tip but it can really speed things up and John has another one here I think who that's a good OK The question is Where do we get our rubber bands and what size do we use. I saw my wife here earlier. OK you get twist ties and white twist ties instead of rubber bands I find them to be faster. For me. But it's intense because. The rubber bands we just get off of Amazon I think and I think they're maybe size thirty but I don't remember exactly. OK how do you measure a bunch of kale or collards we just go by fingers you know. You just. Whoever is in charge said the standard and says this is how big we want it you know because again if. You start counting individual leaves that that's not efficient so you just say you want to bunch you know it varies somewhat but Bunch this size and just check if you've got people working for you you know are they doing it about right or do they need a little more I would definitely check in a rule of thumb. For me has always been what do you buy at the grocery store what do you expect to get at the grocery store and I'll tell people they go Well this has a few holes in it here or there they were Granik I said but here's the question if that listened in on the table would you buy it and would you buy happily would you feel good about buying it if you would feel good about buying it I don't want to sell it and so and we have a role we usually depend on the size of the kale or the collars or whatever I try to pick them when they're sized up record eight in a bunch and if they're smaller under ten in a bunch or if it's lost and I'll tell you maybe fifteen in a bunch that's how we did. To hit that one real quick for us or not. If you. OK So for us since we do web marketing we actually weigh all our bunches because you're online and want to be consistent but I have a lot of complaints from my family because it's time consuming to weigh chief thing out so one of the things I'm considering doing is like getting a P.V.C. pipe that you can like clip on to your belt or something that's your standard diameter so it's all the same and then if it fits in there then that's your metric that way you can keep it consistent but you have to decide on what diameter but you know you have everything from inch to inch and a half you can get a lot of different things and that might be a way to say hey look you want it to fit like this in the P.V.C. pipe now go out it and that way you have a metric that everyone has the same instead of people's hand sizes and you know someone wasn't paying attention or what not so there's a possible solution to that why why do you. Insist instead of laying that might be a thing but the thing is is that I see flux us. A lot of farms on what they consider a bunch and I just don't like that because on a web market you can't tell what the volume is when you go to a marked farmer's market stand you can see it you can kind of pick it up but you can't do that online and so we need to have good consistency so Wayne is how we used to achieve that but it's time consuming the bunching is much faster but then like he said everyone has a different you know metric So how do we make it consistent and I think a good rule of. Press down an overflowing. Press down overflowing if you think it's small just make it bigger. It's much cheaper. To like with weighing this is something Kurdistan really emphasizes don't don't be there you know pulling out a leaf of a it's point five grams over you know what it's supposed to be you just make sure you're not under but if it's a little over fine it's good enough you know you can't be there just getting exact Yeah you're wasting time John. OK So he's saying with bunches if you're doing it on line you can just give approximate size approximately how many leaves or whatever Obviously we don't have enough time in an hour to cover this very well but let's move on to washing so I'll just show you these pictures of the bubble or this is kind of. Well I hate to use the term cutting edge but. This is kind of where small farms are with washing greens. You just get you know I've seen a lot of different things if you really fancy and you if you live in a dairy area and you can find a used stainless steel bulk melt tank Those are awesome. But this is just. Rubber made water trough that you you put a drain in the bottom you buy Jacuzzi pump hook it up with some P.V.C. pipe and I think this next picture you can see drill a bunch of holes in it plug it in and it's a jacuzzi so this is a great way after a long day of work you put hot water in there it's wonderful now actually we've never done that but. What it does is it it. Agitates very gently and it knocks all the dirt off I mean it really does an amazing job of cleaning the greens up and I know the first question is Well doesn't the water get dirty and yeah I mean hopefully if if you're harvesting out of a greenhouse or something it's shouldn't be too dirty but. Whatever however it works you know you can scoop them out of there even if the water looks kind of dirty and they look wonderful Yeah they're not dirty so I don't know exactly how it works if the air ration do you know how it works how does it work the bubbles lots and lots of bubbles when I was in the say those is again you know you're not giving somebody ready to eat salad next I mean I'll tell you I eat it but if someone asked me I say legally I cannot tell you this is is ready to eat I can tell you what I did hydro called it I packed it and it went in there for generator and selling it to you you should take it home and process it yourself but it's up to you what you do. OK how do you dry it well that's the next step. Lucy has. You've been so patient waiting to have you. Well it depends this is for greens specifically mainly for baby greens but you can do had lettuce and stuff in there too but you know obviously root crops and stuff this is not usually the the solution of choice. You know you dump them in there and the other nice thing about this also is that if you've got different varieties it kind of mixes them up so you know if you're making a mesclun mix with the roux Gillan lettuce and so. Well you know you put them in for a few minutes you know I mean. Yeah well OK so the washing machine. So here's here's the washing machine so you look on Craigslist buy a used washing machine cut the. Center thing out and then you wire it you hard wire it so you bypass all the electronics stuff it's just a simple on off switch wired to the spin cycle and then ideally you get. Some kind of basket fits nicely in there. And this is actually a basket from a hand spinner this is a small washing machine this is like an apartment size which you know if we were doing it again we probably would just get a big one but. You know what do they call the great garbage cans. Yeah I think you the brute garbage cans are food grade. Well and that sounds crazy but in restaurants they use them to store chips are they strong sauces they use them for all kinds of you going to down a five gallon ten gallon twenty gallon and so they're really practical in that and usually what they do is they drill holes in it. And that's how you get the slits and if they drill holes in it and it's a you can clean them with bleach you know or however you're going to clean your Because you want to clean up afterwards yeah and they'll A lot of time just to cut the. Handles all but they'll slide down and they just squeeze in that and it just spins it dried just like a salad spinner and you have at home your little one with the string or with the pump handle or whatever it's the same concept there's nothing there and it works brilliantly. So if you want to do this and you're not super handy there's a guy Michael Kilpatrick is his name he has plans for both the bubbler and the drier you go online I don't know exactly what his site is but you can find it Michael Kilpatrick he's a farm consultant. OK actually. We use a we use it in we just simply used to spend cycle. And that's we don't we didn't even convert I'm going to we haven't yet but you don't have to do that right about. Yeah yeah that that works to just use laundry bags that mesh bags. But one thing it's an extra step because see with this we can scoop them right out of the the bubble or put them straight in there take them out put them on the table you know bagged them straight from there so it's more efficient then using. The laundry bags. So if you've ever. Just that you can you can create systems if you don't think that's dry enough some people would want their cell next to be dryer than that before they packaged it you can build like a three fans like you would get like a little square window fans for like twenty bucks box fans and you just melt them in the ceiling and get a drying table screen table and just blow it down on the salad mix you can do it that way too if you if you feel like it needs to be drier than you're getting I find it to be completely. Fine without doing that but a lot of people do that. You guys do that. So it's what he's arguing about you do after spin yeah yeah yeah OK Any other tips on washing OK we have a question back here and then. If the if the things are bunched up well we don't do. Right well with salad mix you know we didn't talk about harvesting salad mix but I'll put in a little plug for the Greens Harvester the quick cut greens Harvester if you're doing any kind of baby mix. In my opinion that's the only way to do it efficiently is with it's on display out here. It really is fast so you take it straight from there. Yeah yeah I know he had zero zero zero in your OK yeah so yeah there's a whole class on salad production so we probably shouldn't spend too much time on it anyway you go straight from there into a B. in some kind of harvest bin and dump it straight in the bubbler So yeah there's no the bunching was for like beets or carrots so OK sanitizing the equipment. Soap. Clorox bleach water there's there's some there's something called Santa date which is. Kind of a hydrogen peroxide kind of thing so there's a number of choices for sanitizing OK. OK how do you clean the washing machine well notice. Notice you're not you're not the lettuce should not really be touching the washing machine now that's not saying you want to have it dirty but. You want to try to do it so the lettuce or greens or whatever you're doing does not touch things that are not food grade you know you there's stingless steel or food grade plastic or whatever. Those are non-porous so you wouldn't want to necessarily use a plastic one so you look for ones that are staying with still or you look for ones that are ceramic enamel coated or whatever and yeah. Yeah. Yeah. OK John we've got a question here. Yeah you can use the bubbler for brunch kale and you know. Yeah I mean you could I think I don't think you really need to you know dunking it in a sink usually is good enough for that usually those kind of things are not very dirty. OK. Yes. Is required by law to use food grade containers Well you know again we're in this kind of gray area the small farms you know like Alan I also went to one of those food safety meetings and you know after they tell you all these horrific hoops to you have to jump through then they tell you Well if you're under five hundred thousand dollars you don't have to worry about it well I don't know of any small farms that are over five hundred thousand dollars small I mean like. Oh yeah twelve acres Yeah. That's that's not a small farm in my book but OK. We've got twelve minutes. You know as far as these regulations concerned at least from my impression from going through the training they're more concerned about biological contamination than they are about chemical contamination I mean you know and quite honestly I think they have to be because what they spray on our fields would then be automatically outside the parameters of the law so I think I think I mean I wouldn't want to use something that blatantly we know is going to be a problem but their concern is not chemical it's biological. Just that quick story you know when we first. Certified Organic I guess it was probably two thousand. The guy came out to inspect and I was concerned about you know we have a spring fed pond that we irrigate from and I was concerned about water quality and he said at that time he said you know we don't deal with water quality with. Now of course washing is a little different there are water quality issues there but as far as irrigation and stuff he said if we did it did nobody in California could be certified organic. That was his. Major irrigation when we were in Washington State. There's so much problems anymore that there's serious dangers not even just from. Whether it's safe for you to eat but we would have to pump out of a river often and. You can kill your crops with what's inside with us rivers and so there's a lot of issues with that stuff and so. Sure so the question is if when you're processing something it actually last longer Well I had mentioned yesterday that it lasted longer if you would process it instead of just taking it from process say processing I mean you take it through a process not processing in the sense of license processing when you come out of the field if you just say you came out of the field and you even threw it in water you pulled out of the water and you go to farmer's market with it it's not going to hold as well as if you put it in the water packet put it in the fridge for at least a few hours you know six hours eight hours to let it crisp. It's going to hold I mean for us our salad mix our greens I can safely tell somebody this is going to last you if you take it home and take care of it properly and put it in. Your fridge and your crisp or whatever it's going to last year we can have two weeks. I don't know anybody that gets salad mix at the grocery store has it last a week and you know supply and slimy leaves and so the difference is as mine when you want to. OK so it's Christine it basically all you're doing is locking in hydration transferee transpiration it's hydrating the thing getting that So when the leaf is is is hot or warm it's kind of it's open it's taking an oyster. Yeah that's the is taking in waste your as soon as you put it in that water it's taking in that moisture and for us it's cold water actually room temperature water works best but as soon as you put it in the fridge everything shrinks just like we do when we get cold you shrink right Sills it in is locking that moisture in and so when you take it to the market even though it's hot it has to go reverse that whole process again and so it's just holds longer. What temperature for director. Thirty six thirty eight you know it is because I mean for now for us since we don't have multiple fridges for our operation and we don't have a temperature controlled washouts as far as outside the fridge we run ours about fifty five and that's a middle ground so we can put tomatoes in there if we wanted to and we can also have lettuce stuff as well and I know it's a compromise because I would prefer it to be a lower temperature but when you don't have an indoor area like to put tomatoes out on and you know in our greenhouse set up that was what we had to do and you know something to realize is that when you pick a crop off of a plant it doesn't die immediately this thing still breathing it still alive that's why the fresher you get stuff the more nutrition you get from it because this thing still going on and so when you call it down you're slowing down the process that it's going to expire. So. Sound so cruel Alan. Doesn't die immediately. That is a bit of a moral dilemma. OK. So on that line one one last thing I would say Has anybody talked about cool but sia. OK so cool but it is a little unit you buy for a few hundred dollars that transforms a window air conditioning unit into a cooler that will take a well insulated room down to thirty some degrees so it's a cheap way to get a walk in cooler and as I think is kind of been alluded to here cooling produce is really really important especially in the summer crucial for product quality when you go to market so it's really if you're starting a market farm a walk in cooler is high on the priority list Michelle's changer one thing you have to understand though when you're using a cool but system is because an air conditioner will take humidity out of the air so you have to make sure that when you're putting your stuff in your cooler you have a plastic layer covering it so we have these pack row one of those orange are those yellow bot bins one of those called What's the company that makes a row pack OK And basically what we do is that let's say I have a bunch of kale stacked that kale in that bin and then I'll take food grade. Trash bag and put it over the top of it there and kind of you know put it around or even put the whole crate inside of the trash bag and hold it and hold it close because if you don't that humidity is just going to escape because it wants to because it's a very low humidity and that cold air commercial units some of them actually have a humidity coil that they'll actually actually many back in there to compensate for that's the one benefit of having a commercial unit but they're expensive and so trash bags like food grade trash bags are really a really good thing a big thing to consider. And I think if you do want the green bags the only place I don't know where you go I think it's Wes. It's a it's their hamburger bun bags is what I get. Yeah. So yeah we're we're running out of time here let me just show you we use. These these industrial grade totes the ones we use are manufactured by mano flow. And they're wonderful because they stack are I guess you know this this is nesting they nest so they don't take up a lot of space but then they also stack so we use these for everything we pack our C.S.A. in them we use them you know when we take our our stuff when we wash our stuff our bunches the kale they go straight in here close the lid put it in the cooler and it goes to market in this get to market open it up these are they're not cheap but they're not super expensive they're around ten dollars apiece you know we just bought Yeah in fact this small size was nine something. There we have two sizes one is nine inches tall and the other is twelve inches tall roughly. It was eleven something so you just have to look around online so I mean it's an investment but they last the only the only thing I'll tell you is don't leave these outside because after ten years they're going to break down we learned that the hard way but we got some new ones and if you keep them inside I think they'd last almost indefinitely. OK We've got a few questions and then we've got to wrap it up. Here John. OK So so he's saying that you can use I've been to farms that have a bunch of refrigerators they just buy used but I would question I think if you have very many of those I think you're probably going to use less energy with with a window unit. OK Well let me just show you a few more pictures here so this is something we just got we saw this use that a farm and I The verdict is still out on it whether but it's it's a way to to tie. A bag and it's super fast lightning fast you literally run it through there through this machine it's called a what's called Sure tape something or other I can't. The quality of the picture isn't good and. And so this is what it does it seals it like that just in a millisecond. I don't know where we purchased Joshua purchase that. I think you line would probably have it now the. Thing we're not sure on this you know when it comes to salad mix you know you base it you can't undo that tape so you just have to tear the bag open. And so you know if our customers know well you just put it in a Ziploc bag and but you know we want to get some feedback from customers whether they like it or not because it's definitely destroys the bag but it's lightening fast when it comes to. To packaging. OK this is a cool little thing and I want to give credit to our apprentices we've had some incredible apprentices the last year and a half some really mature thinking. Thinking lean apprentices we went through the lean farm book and most of these improvements came from the apprentices this is just a little. Light sensor in our cooler so rather than you know your. Carrying in a bunch of boxes in your fumbling around for the light switch this you walk in the door and the light comes on and a minute later it goes off you know such a little thing it was ten dollars ten dollars or something and you know we don't have to worry did did you leave the light on you know it's going to go off so that's a neat little thing and this so when you've got you know fifty of those bins in the cooler you've got to know what's what right so we just bought painters tape in different colors were used to use post it notes but those are expensive and they tend to come off painters tape sticks better but it also pulls off pretty easy and so we've got you do that. OK Well why didn't you tell me. OK So but we've got different colors you know stuff going to Farmer's Market is blue C.S.A. yellow so on so that you know you can stack them in there and you know exactly by looking at the color OK this is we need to put this here and this goes here. I think that's it. Yeah so those are just a few things did you all have any last things. We can go a few more minutes for questions. Yeah. Which pick this one. Oh. Let me let me just mention one thing first so everyone's clear on this you want to move in your house from dirty to clean you don't want to have to come back across that same ground actually Timothy Hyde mentioned earlier and so for us we have like a hoop house so it's skinnier than it is long right. And so we have two tables outside and we put our stuff there as it's dirty and then people take that in and go to the wash Eichel after it goes to the washed like will then it goes to the packing tables and after that then it goes to the cooler and then it goes out the door so you really want it to be streamlined not have to be coming back across and it's really good because people are moving pretty much in all one direction and it's just it remember that you're who palace is and they saw your washouts and this is what they mentioned out this training I went to is the highest chance of contamination because everything's if there's one thing contaminated and it goes to that wash that's where it meets up with everything else and so it's very important that you make sure that you move from dirty to clean and not go back across that ground. Yeah I just I was thinking we should we talked about washing we talked about picking but I don't know if we talked about packing a little bit about packing So there's there's a lot of questions about. Something that I use wax boxes for packing my farm. I just saw a guy who's using non wax boxes I think Alan uses non-blacks boxes for yes packing and so that can be problematic but it's also a lot cheaper and you can recycle that you can't recycle wax boxes like just the ones. Right you know so he's packing it for people so it's a little different I don't know what do you guys use used in the those plastic coats so like oh my C.S.A. I take the box over there and I leave the box there and I don't pick the box up until next week I can't leave a ten dollar tote because they often don't come home and so that's not an option for me so he's waxed boxes that we pack into Reason one and one one of these and they make smaller ones they make bigger ones. By the thing I buy by the pallet. Even though I don't really use them. I don't really need that much. It's a lot cheaper because you're going to pay to ship them and you get a cheaper rate on the boxes I bought them four years ago so what they would go for today as I don't know but probably somewhere after shipping and everything I'm probably close to. Close enough to four dollars to say four dollars a box. I'm saying I asked for them back. But they don't always come back and so if I go to a restaurant I find the one that's got like the torn handle because I'm probably not getting it back from a restaurant usually and so or if I get boxes like a co-ops or something and they're not standardized to my stuff I put it I take the tape and I write everything that's in the box on the tape and that goes to them that way. So just a plug for the plastic one so if you're paying four dollars a box you know all you need to do is is lose three boxes and you've bought a one that can be recycled over and over and over again and just one other little thing you know these are expensive if you're getting one hundred of them but. Tennessee where we are has a program it's called the Tennessee agricultural enhancement program where you can write a grant and they will match fifty fifty for agricultural improvement they're really trying to push this and so I would check into what your state has because you know you may be able to get help with some of this and I know that brings up a whole nother issue of government assistance but. Yeah I guess I don't want to go there right now. Yes David. I can tell you how I do it. How do you what potatoes Irish paste so how do you wash potatoes whether it be sweet potatoes or regular Irish potatoes. On our farm while we harvest and we don't wash and try to harvest and when it's not muddy when it's dry if we do harvest and when it's muddy try to clean with best we can but they store better as long as they're not wet you know it's super muddy and wet and that kind of defeats the purposes but they store better if you don't wash so it depends on what you're going to market right away with the hose put them in a we have harvest bins they don't have tops on them like that they're plastic bins and we just spray them off and kind of slow process of turning them obviously you can get a washer. Which is like a spray machine that's a conveyor belt or or circle one that turns on. There's a root washers and things like that those are thousands of dollars Usually I'm using them cheaper than three or four thousand dollars so for others it's a hose in my hands and it's somewhat tedious at the really muddy it's been wet out but usually. If the grounds night not too wet they they are not too dirty and they clean up pretty quick if you if you go to keep it where the column story cold dot com. It all if they have a whole list oh what's the price to run a cool bot what's going to vary on size and a several different things but if you go to their website they have a ton of information on how to build the coolers and. We just talked about it just a minute ago who does everybody know to call bought a. Yeah. Story store store called dot com. If you just type in Co bought into Google it'll come up to. You But yeah there's pennies a day to answer the question in short generally unless you have a very poor system it's going to be pennies a day. So it's as much it's one of the cheap it's much cheaper than an industrial one and it's cheaper than the glass window to ones or the individual ones it's a very inexpensive way to do it a lot of space there. Yet. There are Greenfield uses a twenty foot shipping container with one I use a a eight foot by twelve foot walking where you see my walking cooler insulation yet an insulated shipping containers what Daryn's use and OK. With the cold light Yeah. So we're going to officially stop been I'm sure that at least some of us can stay around a little longer if you have more questions again I think you see we just scratched the surface. But hopefully we gave a few shoe helpful tips so let's just close with a word of prayer. Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for this time together we thank you for. The the challenges and the joys of working with your. Created. Plants and produce and Lord we. We realize that we don't have wisdom in ourselves to be able to do this in your way so we ask that you continue to guide and direct us as we seek to be more efficient for your honor and glory and we thank you for doing this in Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio for us a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the universe or if you would like to listen to more service leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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